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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 20, 27-40

Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no resurrection -- approached him and they put this question to him,

'Master, Moses prescribed for us, if a man's married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother.

Well then, there were seven brothers; the first, having married a wife, died childless.

The second

and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children.

Finally the woman herself died.

Now, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?'

Jesus replied, 'The children of this world take wives and husbands,

but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry

because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are children of God.

And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him everyone is alive.'

Some scribes then spoke up. They said, 'Well put, Master.'

They did not dare to ask him any more questions.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus continues to stay in the temple announcing the Gospel, despite being taken hostage by those who see him as a threat to their power. However, the Lord does not perform any miracles, as though to say that in the house of God, the only true force is the Word, the Word of God. And indeed, it is exactly the Word of God that the opponents want to silence. After the encounter with the Pharisees, the Sadducees come forward. The opponents of the Gospel do not stop; there are always waves that follow one after the other. Now it is the time of the Sadducees, who—as good intellectuals—deny the resurrection of the dead. And it is on this theme that they pose questions to Jesus. The case presented is typical of those who are more accustomed to abstract reasoning than to taking real life into consideration. They say to Jesus, “A woman had seven husbands, whose wife will she be after she dies?” They continue then to reason in a way that seems logical, and in part it is, but they follow human criteria not God’s criteria, which are much richer and vaster. This way of proceeding invites us to not absolutize our ways of reasoning, as if with our minds we can hold the truth by chaining it to ourselves and our logic. There is a “beyond” in our reasoning to which we should all pay more attention. This “beyond” has to do with mystery. We are not able to understand the fullness of nature or of God. We all need more humility in facing life, history, reason and even faith. In this case Jesus shows, in an obvious and effective way, the difference between God’s way of reasoning and ours. His words reveal a completely new way of considering the present and future life, but such a way is understandable only to those who open their hearts and minds to the mystery of God. Jesus, who comes from heaven, presents heaven as a world where blood ties do not count as they do on earth because in heaven they are renewed by the Spirit; they remain but they are transformed in a much richer relationship. In the world of the resurrected, says Jesus, one does not have husband or wife because everyone is fully son or daughter. It is the world of God’s future where the ties that we have among all are rendered eternal and deep.. The Father, says Jesus, is the Lord of the living, not of the dead. Whoever unites with Jesus and entrusts his or her life to God now is a “son of the resurrection.” And that person lives on earth as if it were heaven, experiencing life according to the Spirit and not to the flesh, obviously in an initial, imperfect way, but true. Yes, the heavens already begin among believers when they live in the love that the Lord has poured into their hearts.

Sunday Vigil