At that time, some Sadduceans approached Jesus, who denied that there was a resurrection, and asked him this question:
“Master, Moses has prescribed us: If someone dies a brother who has a wife, but without children, his brother will take his widow and give a lineage to his brother.
There were therefore seven brothers: the first, after taking his wife, died without children.
Then he took the second
and then the third and so all seven; and they all died without leaving children.
Finally, the woman also died.
So this woman, in the resurrection, who will be a wife? Because all seven had it as a wife.”
Jesus answered, “The children of this world take a wife and take husbands;
but those who are judged worthy of the other world and of the resurrection by the dead, do not take a wife or husband;
nor can they die anymore, because they are equal to angels and, being children of the resurrection, are children of God.
That then the dead rise, Moses also pointed it out to the bush, when he calls the Lord: God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob.
God is not God of the dead, but of the living; because everyone lives for him.” (Luke 20,27-38.)
We try to contextualize this gospel. Who were the sadduceans? The Sadduceans were the helite of the Jewish-Palestinian society of Jesus’ time. From them came that ruling and priestly class that often represented the Jews in front of the Romans. They were few but very influential. They did not believe, and that is what interests us most, in eternal life and resurrection from the dead. Jesus, through this word, wanted to highlight how on this point the Sadducei are wrong and confirms that we are instead made to live forever. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. This blog helps us reflect on our call to spousal love, and this gospel poses an important question. What will our life be like in God’s eternal life? What will the relationship between the newlyweds be like?
We don’t know it as we know almost nothing about eternal life. It is something that does not yet belong to us and that we cannot understand. There are, however, some reflections that we can make by taking on some reality and truth that we know.
Marriage is a vocation. Through marriage we can respond to God’s love. The other becomes a mediator between us and God. By loving the other, we can love God. By loving the brother/sister we see and touch, we can love God that we do not see. Marriage is a sacrament of the body. The body is an integral part of marriage. We can only live our marriage through the body. Our deepest and most spiritual part (the will, the soul, the heart) is not enough, but it is necessary that the love that arises in our deepest and most intimate part can become visible and concrete through the body. There is no marriage without the first physical relationship.
From these truths of our faith it is clear that marriage ceases with death. In paradise we can love God directly without any mediation. The main purpose of the marriage is therefore diminished. Our body will also be different, it will be transfigured, we do not know how but we know that it will be different. It is therefore uncommon and plausible to believe that our sexuality can be experienced as we live it now.
So there will be no more marriage, Jesus confirms it too, but we can really think that the Quattrocchi spouses, Martin, Pietro and Gianna Beretta Molla, and many other couples who have embodied a wonderful marriage love then do not bear the signs even in the eternal life? I can’t believe it. For sure, more than a certainty is a hope, it will remain a special friendship. I am sure that Luisa will have a special place in my heart even in Paradise. Everything I’ve built with her in this life doesn’t erase, she doesn’t reset. All gestures of tenderness, care, intimacy, forgiveness, listening, presence, sharing joys and sorrows, all these experiences remain imprinted indelibly in my heart. On the day I die, I’m going to leave everything here in this life. In my suitcase I will carry only my heart, the love given and received and she is an integral part of it. I am sure that on our wedding day, June 29, 2002, a relationship began that will last forever. In eternal life it will certainly be different and transfigured, but even more beautiful and wonderful because it lived in the light and in the presence of God.
Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia quotes a statement by Thomas D’Aquino that you can read in Summa contra Gentiles. A phrase that explains precisely the whole meaning of this article: After the love that unites us with God, conjugal love is the “greatest friendship”. I think this will be true forever. This friendship will never be taken away from us.
Antonio and Luisa