A Lot of Husbands
Some Sadducees asked Jesus, “Moses wrote that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and in the same way all seven died childless. Finally, the woman died. Now in the resurrection, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
That’s a lot of husbands!!
The Sadducees cite the custom of the “Levirate” marriage to challenge Jesus’ teaching about resurrection. This brother-in-law marriage was meant to keep ancestral property within the clan of the deceased husband. Loss of ancestral property threatened a clan with scarcity and potential extinction.
But Jesus says that in “that age” there will be no more death and therefore, no need for marriage and procreation. No more death means no more scarcity or extinction. Life in the resurrection will be a life of abundance based on a direct sharing in the life of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To the God whose name is “I AM” all of them are alive.
This also raises the question of the relation of sexuality and spirituality. In one way, God’s kingdom proceeds through sexuality, marriage and procreation. There is a promise of abundance in family life and love. But consecrated celibacy strikes most people as a life of scarcity and sacrifice. By their lack of response contemporary young Catholics have indicated that religious life and priesthood is a life that is not worth living.
The real abundance that is soul of life in “that age” is living from God’s universal love. That love establishes a new social order transcending all extinction. The good news is that we don’t have to wait till resurrection to experience that abundance. That love is already within us.
By meeting our fears of scarcity in our non-resurrected bodies we can already experience liberation from the feeling that what is most real is physical. Every fear, aversion and compulsion has an energetic pattern. By meeting this restlessness energy without repressing it or amplifying it we are meeting ourselves as we are. In this meeting doubt meets love. By remaining present to our restless short-sighted selves, we show ourselves mercy. What follows is the abundance and joy born of trust.
Through this merciful meeting “that age” enters “this age” and the heaven of the future increases within us now. This abundance is what shines out of joyful consecrated celibate religious and priests, intentional singles and those who are given in marriage. The children of the resurrection roam free in this world and the age to come.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada
To contact Fr. Mark for advice about discernment and vocation direction. He can meet with you by phone to conduct a short vocation assessment to help you find your way. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an appointment.