The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Is your life earth-bound or heaven-bound? The Sadducees had one big problem – they could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren’t we often like them? We don’t recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in immortality, nor in angels or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven.
The Scriptures give witness – we will rise again to immortal life
Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection. The scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, when God manifests his presence to Moses in the burning bush, the Lord tells him that he isthe God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He shows that the patriarchs who died hundreds of years previously were still alive in God. Jesus defeats their arguments by showing that God is a living God of a living people. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived. That friendship could not cease with death. As Psalm 73:23-24 states: “I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
The ultimate proof of the resurrection is the Lord Jesus and his victory over death when he rose from the tomb. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he exclaimed: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25). Jesus asks us the same question. Do you believe in the resurrection and in the promise of eternal life with God?
Jesus came to restore Paradise and everlasting life for us
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise – heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God – is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you live now in the joy and hope of the life of the age to come?
“May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.” (Prayer of Origen, 185-254 AD)
OUR UNWORTHINESS IN HIS WORTHINESS
“The children of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead do not.” —Luke 20:34-35
Will you be “judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead”? (Lk 20:35) Is there anything you have done or can do which makes you worthy to be raised from the dead? Obviously, no one is worthy to be raised from the dead except Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25). All the angels cry out at God’s throne: “Worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and praise!” (Rv 5:12)
We have no righteousness and worthiness of our own (Phil 3:9). However, we have been baptized into Christ (Rm 6:3), and in Jesus we are in His worthiness and will be judged worthy of resurrection from the dead and eternal life. The Church has taught us to pray when we receive Holy Communion that we are not worthy to have Jesus come under our roof (see Mt 8:8). We will never be worthy to receive Jesus. Nevertheless, when we receive Him and are in Him (Jn 6:56), we renew our baptismal covenant with Him and in our unworthiness, we receive worthiness.
Prayer: Jesus, the slain Lamb of God, “the Resurrection and the Life,” my Savior, my Lord, my God, my Worthiness… Promise: “Moses in the passage about the bush showed that the dead rise again when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for Him.” —Lk 20:37-38 Praise: Sts. Ann and Joachim believed that God would work His plan through their daughter. They expressed their belief by presenting their daughter Mary to be raised in the Temple at the age of three.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements