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HOW JESUS VIEWED LIFE

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lk. 20:27-38

Who were the Sadducees? They were the aristocrats, the ruling class in Jerusalem. Their chief concern was not religion but business and politics. They had a religion of sorts, but it was mostly a matter of expedience. They were in charge of the temple and used it to make themselves wealthy.

Their only concern with Jesus was His threat to their power and profits. Had He left them alone, they would have gladly left Him alone. But Jesus, of course, could not do that. He kept doing and saying things that threatened their business. He taught the people that God loved every one, Gentiles as well as the Jews, and that people were more important than temple sacrifices. After a time, the Sadducees concluded that Jesus was indeed a dangerous fanatic. So they set out to discredit Him if possible, and if not, to destroy Him.

One day in the temple they confronted Him with a puzzle, to which they thought there was no answer. It was about a woman who successively married seven brothers. When the first died she married the next, and so on, until all seven were dead. Then the woman herself died. Then they asked, "At the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife?" Their reason for asking this question was to disprove the idea of immortality and, thereby, discredit Jesus by making Him look foolish. How wrong they were! They did not realise Who Jesus was and how well He could put them right.

As the Sadducees saw it, this was the basic religious disagreement between them and Jesus. He believed in life after death, and they did not. We know that the difference between them really ran far deeper; their disagreement was about life itself. They thought of life in terms of quantity but Jesus thought of life in terms of quality. They thought of life in terms of time but Jesus thought of life in terms of eternity. They thought of life as strictly human endeavour but Jesus thought of life as a great adventure with God.

The Sadducees must have had a strange belief in God. They had no idea of how God looked upon life. As far as they were concerned life originated with birth and ended with death. Between these two events people had to do the best they could with what they had until life comes to its end. But how could anyone think like that? Surely there is more to life than that! Jesus, on the other hand believed that God was totally involved with life, expressing it in the words, "He is God not of the dead, but of the living."

Since the Sadducees had a stunted belief in life it gives us the opportunity to talk about life - a gift of God which we must respect and love. It is this life that makes each one of us God's child, and so all people must be treated with respect. God has given us this gift of life, to be enjoyed not only on Earth, as the Sadducees believed, but more particularly in the life hereafter.

The life that we are given is to be lived for a purpose. Each one of us has a mission from the Father. Like Jesus, our mission is to do the will of our Father. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. And just as He had a mission for these three patriarchs, He has a mission for each one of us. Our lives are not meaningless accidents. We are all assigned to finish the work that God has allotted to us.

Life is meant to be lived walking with God as our Father and Companion. That is how Jesus lived His life. He was always conscious of His Father Who accompanied Him. He was never alone. God for Him, was not back there in history, or up there in Heaven, or out there in the future. He is the ever-present Father, Friend, Helper and Companion.

Lord Jesus, like You we believe in life after death. How ludicrous and unbelievable it would be to have a belief in God in this life and for it all to end in death. Life for You was a great adventure with God; so real, so rich, and so radiant that it is worth going on forever. For we who follow Him, may it also be the same for us.

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