2Mc 7:1-2, 9-14
2Thes 2:16 - 3:5
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by Dr. Michael Rosewall, Associate Professor of Music
"What we have here is a failure to communicate!" The familiar story in the book of Luke describes a confrontation between Jesus and the Sadducees, the official priests of the Temple. These keepers of the Law brought a question regarding a tenet of Jewish law that offered protection for childless women who found themselves alone after the death of a husband. Mosaic law states that a brother might marry such a widow, provide for her care, and raise descendants for his deceased relative. The Sadducees, however, offered a complicated riddle for Jesus to answer:
"There were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?"
The Sadducees were a group that did not believe in resurrection of the body or in the immortality of the soul. With this complicated question, they hoped to trap Jesus in a theological debate. His answer, however, implied that the priests were asking the wrong question and concerned with the wrong issue: "Those who are worthy to attain the resurrection are children of God," and "the God of Abraham is not the God of the dead, but of the living." His words stressed the importance of our relationship with God over our human relationships. Thus, God is not interested in us wrangling over the letter of the law – but perfecting our relationship with our creator and the source of our being.