The resurrection of the dead
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Mk 12,18-27) - At that time, some Sadducees came to Jesus - who say that there is no resurrection - and questioned him, saying: «Master, Moses left us a written message that if someone's brother dies and leaves his wife without children, his brother take a wife and give offspring to his brother. There were seven brothers: the first took a wife, died and left no descendants. Then the second took it and died without leaving descendants; and the third likewise, and none of the seven left descendants. In the end, after all, the woman also died. At the resurrection, when they rise again, which of them will she be the wife of? Since all seven had her as wives." Jesus answered them, “Isn't this why you are in error, because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? In fact, when they rise from the dead, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be like angels in heaven. Regarding the fact that the dead are raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story of the bush, how God spoke to him saying: "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 gravely mistaken."

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

These are Jesus' last words in the temple. This time it is the Sadducees who approach Jesus to question him and make him contradict himself. The Sadducees were the representatives of the priestly class and professed a ritualistic religion that did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. Having come to Jesus, taking inspiration from a text of the Mosaic Law, they pose a theoretical "case" on marriage to deny the resurrection. Jesus does not fall into controversy with the Sadducees, but instead recalls the principles that are the basis of faith: the authority of the Scriptures. Jesus recalls the words that God himself addressed to Moses from the burning bush, when he told him that he was the Lord of the living and the dead and therefore with his lordship that extends over his children both in life and in death: «He is not the God of dead, but of the living." Starting from these words, he opens a glimpse into life after death: believers, freed from the bonds of the flesh, will live "like angels", they will be animated by the Spirit. Life "as angels", the one inspired by the Spirit, actually begins already on this earth when one welcomes his Word into one's heart and entrusts one's life to Jesus. Jesus underlines this several times to the disciples. In front of Lazarus' tomb, shortly before bringing him back to life, he said to Martha: «I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, he will live; whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (Jn 11,25-26). Whoever binds his life to Jesus already passes from death to life. Death becomes - as it was for Jesus - a passage from earthly life to resurrected life, from "this world to the Father".