Reflection on 32nd Sunday: 10 November 2019

Living a resurrected life

In today’s gospel reading we have a familiar scene of Jesus being asked a question by a group or individual with their own opinion about the answer to that question. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection and the problem they presented to Jesus was based on a tradition, known as levirate law, by which a man was expected to marry the childless widow of his brother. This was so that the dead man’s name would be carried on to the next generation. (It was presumed and expected, of course, that a son would be produced.) The Sadducees felt that, without belief in life after death, there is no problem. The dead simply disappear into oblivion. But, for those who did believe in the resurrection of the dead, the Sadducees felt their hypothetical problem created an insoluble solution. As in similar ‘trick question’ situations, Jesus leads his listeners to a growth in consciousness; he invites them to ‘die’ to religious convictions which prevent them from being fully alive. He explains that life after death is a completely different plane of existence. In Christ we enter into a new relationship with God and with all other people. This relationship transcends blood and marriage and our concept of time. ( “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”) And we can live that resurrected life here and now.

Death is the doorway to resurrection. There are degrees of death before the physical death. We die when we hit the depths of suffering, beyond where we are in control, when everything falls apart, when nothing makes sense. We all have moments like that and if, like the seed planted in the ground, we allow that darkness to do its work, new life emerges. Until we go through that transformative experience at least once, we do not know about resurrection. We only believe in Resurrection if we have already experienced it beforehand. When our lives fall apart, we move to a deeper level, we find our deeper source which we call God and we start drawing life from that source. That’s resurrection. And we can live that resurrected life now.

Adapted: Richard Rohr meditations and Living Space website