GOD’S CHILDREN DO NOT DIE
Jesus has always been very measured when speaking of the new life that comes after the resurrection. But when a group of aristocratic Sadducees try to ridicule faith in the resurrection of the dead, Jesus reacts by raising the question to its true level and making two basic affirmations.
First of all, Jesus rejects the childish idea of the Sadducees who imagine the life of the risen from the dead as a prolongation of this life that we now know. It is wrong to represent the life of those raised up by God using our present experiences.
There is a radical difference between our earthly life and the full life that, after death, is directly sustained by God’s love. That Life is absolutely “new.” That is why we can await it but never describe it or explain it.
The first generations of Christians kept this humble and honest attitude in the face of the mystery of “eternal life.” Paul tells the believers at Corinth that we are dealing with what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.
These words are useful to us as a healthy warning and a joyful orientation. On the one hand, heaven is “newness” that is beyond every earthly experience, yet on the other hand, it is a life “prepared” by God for the perfect fulfillment of our deepest aspirations. What is proper to faith is to not to satisfy naively our curiosity, but to nourish our desire, expectation and trusting hope in God.
This is precisely what Jesus looks for by appealing with all simplicity to a fact that the Sadducees accept: in biblical tradition, God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even though these patriarchs have died, God continues being their God, their protector, their friend. Death has not been able to destroy God’s love and fidelity toward them.
Jesus draws his own conclusion, making an affirmation that is decisive for our faith: God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. God is the inexhaustible fountain of life. Death does not leave God without his beloved sons and daughters. When we mourn those whom we have lost in this world, God looks upon them as fully alive because he has welcomed them to his fatherly love.
According to Jesus, God’s union with his children cannot be destroyed by death. His love is stronger than our biological extinction. That is why we dare to call upon him with humble faith, My God, in you I trust; do not let me be disgraced (Psalm 25,1-2).
6 November 2016
32nd Sunday O.T. (C)
Luke 20, 27-38