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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel For 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time: Luke 20:27-38 By Fr. Isidore Clarke (Audio and Text)

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel For 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time:               Luke 20:27-38                                                                                                                    By Fr. Isidore Clarke (Audio and Text)

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke.Today I'm going to reflect on the Gospel for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, taken from Luke 20:27-38.

Some people never learn! So often in the Gospels people tried to outsmart Jesus, but always He got the better of them. If you set a trap for Jesus you will end up falling into it yourselves.That's what happened in today's Gospel when the Sadducees tried to trick Jesus into siding with them in their dispute with the Scribes and Pharisees.

Quite simply, the Scribes and Pharisees believed in the resurrection; the Sadducees didn't.To trap Jesus, the Sadducees tried to get Him to resolve a complicated marriage question, which they thought would make nonsense of any belief in the resurrection.

According to the Law of Moses a brother had to marry his widowed sister in law, so that his family name would continue. The matter became ridiculously complicated if she married and buried seven brothers in law. The Sadducees tried to get Jesus to decide to which of them she would be married -if the resurrection from the dead were true.This conundrum seemed to make nonsense of the resurrection.

This problem isn't as unlikely at it may at first appear. People today, who have married several times, may well ask the same question.With the Sadducees they may well conclude that belief in the resurrection would land them in an impossible, if not ridiculous, situation.So it would be better to deny the resurrection. Death would be the end for them –no future in an after life and no complicated relationships!

But Jesus side-stepped this trick question. Instead He told the Sadducees that their understanding of the resurrection was all wrong.That's why it led to absurd puzzles.Jesus then explained what the resurrection really meant.That's why today's Gospel is so important for us.

Jesus then told them and us what the life of the resurrection is like. It's not as the Scribes and Pharisees thought, a resumption of our present mode of existence, but with none of the drawbacks, such as pain, death and injustice.For them the resurrection meant an eternal idyllic continuation of our present way of life.

Instead, we, who through baptism became 'children of the resurrection,' believe that when we are raised bodily from the dead we will remain the same people while our mode of existence will be transformed.We use such words as 'glorified' to describe it. Our whole person, body and soul, will radiate the glory of God.Though we have no experience of what that means, we believe that, as we share in God's life, we will no longer be vulnerable to temptation, sorrow, pain and death. There will be aggravation, nor tensions, just love and peace.We will be filled with the joy of responding perfectly to God's love. We will even be able to see Him face to face, as He really is.

The crucial point of today's Gospel is that the life of the resurrection will change the way we relate to each other.Far from abolishing our love for each other, that will be deepened and will no longer be expressed physically in the ways appropriate to our present lives.That's what the risen Lord wanted Mary Magdalene to learn when He prevented her from embracing Him.

Though, in the resurrection, we will still love each other as individuals, married love is only appropriate for this present life.While husbands and wives will still love each other in heaven, they won't want to express their affection sexually, nor will they need to gain some kind of immortality through their descendants.God will give each of us a share in His own divine eternal life and happiness. The Sadducees' objection to the resurrection was irrelevant!

Those of us who are celibate try to witness to the kind of life and love, which we will all enjoy in heaven.Life beyond the grave will be far more wonderful than anything we could experience or imagine here on earth.In a different way, we will be even closer to our loved ones than we are now.We should look forward to that!

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