THEIR NAKED EYES
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?
There is an old saying, "You get what you pay for." This statement means, in effect, that you have to pay for quality, that there are no real bargains. Our whole economic system develops within us that attitude that there is a price for everything and that we are responsible people when we accept this attitude as reality. In fact, we are always a little suspicious when something is offered "for free," and we want to know what the catch is.
Unfortunately our economic system can affect the way we look at God. When we think of God we ought not to consider the saying, "You get what you pay for." Rather we ought to remember the words of an old song; "The best things in life are free." We cannot buy God's favor. We do not purchase heaven. These best of all things are entirely free, given us by God out of pure love for us. The First Reading today puts it this way:
"You are righteous, O Lord, and all your deeds are just; Your ways are mercy and truth." God has saved us and has called us to a holy life
Of course we must respond to God's gift of grace, but it is necessary to emphasize the gratuity of God's love and especially of everlasting life. Resurrection to everlasting life is the greatest gift of all. Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, took the occasion of the foolish question put to Him by the Sadducees to insist that resurrection means an entirely new life, not a mere resumption of this earthly existence.
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 or in angels or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven. Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection. 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. He 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. 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.
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! We need to believe the scriptures and come to know the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
So let the message stand clear today: "God has saved us and has called us to strive to live a holy life, not because of any merit of ours but according to His own design...