St. Paul wrote: “Christ Jesus destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.”
He wrote from prison—suffering, but not ashamed. He went on to write: “I am confident that Christ is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.” That day? The day of the resurrection.
Not hard to detect the cynicism in the Sadducees’ line of questions, that we read in the gospel at Holy Mass today. Resurrection of the body?! Sure! Who will be married to whom, among the seven brothers who married the same widow? And, if I lost two teeth when I was in my fifties, will I have them back at the resurrection? How old will I be anyway? And so-and-so, who was lost at sea—will he rise with all the fishes still in his innards?
Cynical. But, listen: You don’t have to be old to think that the resurrection is important, and no laughing matter. The toils and ordeals of this pilgrimage will make anyone cynical—unless we keep ourselves focused on our eternal destiny.
Lord Jesus cut right through the Sadducees’ tittering cynicism. Aren’t we talking about God here? Didn’t He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs? Didn’t He make the universe, and every kind of fish and manta ray and baling whale, every kind of tweeting bird, and the lightning and thunder of summer storms—didn’t He form it all, with the stars and constellations and planets and galaxies—didn’t He make it all, with infinite power and intelligence, out of nothing?
And yet you doubt that He can and will raise our mortal bodies at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate way? The more fools you.
Let’s recall what St. Justin Martyr said, when the Roman prefect, who was preparing to scourge and then behead Justin, for refusing to offer pagan sacrifices–the prefect asked: “So you have the idea that Jesus will give you some suitable rewards for believing in him?” Justin answered, without batting an eyelash, without the slightest trace of irony: “It is not an idea I have. It is something I know well and hold to be most certain.”