Daily Reflection – June 1, 2016
Wednesday 1 June 2016
First Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12
To You, O Lord, I lift up my eyes
Psalm 123:1B-2AB, 2CDEF
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56
Today’s Saint: St Justin, Martyr
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled.”
How reliable is the belief that all will be raised from the dead? The Sadducees, who were a group of religious leaders from the upper classes in Jesus’ time, did not believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead to eternal life. 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 we can touch and see. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in the existence of immortal beings – whether humans, angels, or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven which ended in death.
Jesus responds to their argument by dealing with the fact of the resurrection and immortal life. Jesus shows that God is a living God of a living people. The Scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, God calls himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived on the earth. That friendship with God could not cease with death.
David in the Psalms also speaks of the reality of immortal life with God. In Psalm 73:23-24 we pray through the words of David: “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 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 believe the Scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit?
“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)