Today’s Gospel: Luke 20:27-38 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
At first glance, this Gospel seems to be about marriage, but a closer look reveals that it is about the resurrection of the dead.
The Sadducees did not believe in angels or the resurrection of the dead (that is why they were “sad, you see”!). The question they pose about whose wife the woman will be is really intended to point to the impossibility of a physical resurrection.
Jesus, as He so often deems necessary, reframes the question in the context of fuller truth. He draws a distinction between several Hebrew idioms: between “this age” and “the coming age,” between “the children of this age” and “the children of God,” between our physical life here and the life of those “deemed worthy to attain to…the resurrection of the dead.” In the present world, marriage and remarriage are necessary for the perpetuation of life because of man’s mortality. But in the world to come, when “they can no longer die,” the purpose of marriage no longer exists. What is necessary here will be unnecessary there.
Jesus’s comment that those who can no longer die “are like angels” echoes the prophet Baruch, that “they shall be made like unto the angels, and be made equal to the stars, and they shall be changed into every form they desire” (2 Baruch 51:10). To further emphasize the truth of the resurrection of the dead, Jesus refers to the burning bush from which God said clearly that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of whom had historically passed from this life. If they were not still “alive” in some way, this statement would be senseless. “To Him, all are alive.”