Posted by: fvbcdm | June 10, 2015

Catholic Daily Message for the Feast of Saint Timothy (10 June 2015)

In the gospel we find the amusing but very valuable little exchange between Our Divine Lord and a group of Sadducees who were trying to trip him up in his theology.

You see, the Sadducees were a party within the Jewish religious and political community who accepted as unquestionably true only the first five books of the Old Testament. They called them “the Law,” or “the Torah.” We call them “the Pentateuch,” from the Greek word “penta” meaning “five.” No explicit mention is made in those first five books of the Bible about the afterlife, or whether we continue to exist after we die. So the Sadducees usually denied this doctrine, whereas the Pharisees affirmed it.

There was in the Jewish law a commandment that if a man died childless, his brother would take the widow unto himself and raise children in the name of the dead brother.  So the Sadducees presented Jesus with the rather silly case of a woman who married seven brothers in succession, each trying to father a child by her.  So, they asked Jesus, when she dies too, in the afterlife whose wife will she be.  Remember: she had seven husbands on earth. This mean-spirited attempt on their part to reduce the doctrine of Jesus to absurdity was the occasion of his giving us some very valuable information. First, his answer indicates that he knows all things, even the future, and the things that go on in heaven.  Second, that in heaven there is no marriage, but rather a deep and beautiful friendship among all those who are there without the exclusivity of marriage in this world.  Does that mean that those who were married in this world will not love each other in heaven? No indeed! They will love one another more in heaven than they did on earth, but it will not be a one-to-one relationship which excludes others as is the case in this world.

Furthermore, Our Lord’s answer is particularly significant for us who are called to a life of celibacy. The Church has always cherished the celibate life. Jesus lived that way, and millions of others down through the ages of Christianity have been called by grace to live that way not only to devote themselves to the Lord more than married people usually can, but also to give to the world the witness of a celibate life which is the foretaste of what life will be like in eternity. This is not to condemn or disparage the married state, but only to affirm that the spiritual, intellectual, mental aspects of human nature are more important than the physical and sexual.  All happily married couples know this. Those who have fallen victim to the pan-sexism of our contemporary world do NOT know this, and therefore constantly seek real human happiness in physical pleasure, where it can’t be found. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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