Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Luke 20.27-38

“Being children of the resurrection they are sons of God”.

The Sadducees of today’s gospel passage did not believe in resurrection of the dead. For them life is this life and death is death into nothingness. To argue their case against belief in resurrection, they posed an imaginary situation with which they hoped to trap Jesus, but in doing so they were stuck in an earth-bound mentality. In response, Jesus pointed out that we cannot really understand eternal life with earthly thinking, for in the future life people will be in a completely new relationship with God and so also with each other. “Being children of the resurrection they are children of God”.

So, what does this say to us? How we wish we could have a peep into the future - to see for ourselves what life after death will be like. The simple fact is - we don't know. Like the Sadducees, we tend to think about heaven in the only terms we know – through the very limited images and language of our earthly experience. As a result we have many questions arising from life as we know it at present: will we recognise each other in heaven … will we be for ever the age at which we die … will there be animals in heaven … what will we do ‘all day’ … and so on???

Jesus points to where our final calling lies – to be so fully and perfectly “children of God” that all other relationships are absorbed and enriched in that union with God. Such a personal relationship with God, Jesus indicates in today's gospel, is so totally all-absorbing and satisfying that all questions about other aspects of heaven become superfluous. Eternal life in full personal union with God is so entirely beyond anything we have experienced, so totally beyond our present ways of thinking that we can only accept the word of Jesus in trusting faith, and await the fulfilment of his promise with joyful hope. St. Paul expresses this for us as follows: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has man ever envisaged what God has prepared for those who love him”.