IS IT RIDICULOUS TO HOPE IN GOD?
The Sadducees didn’t enjoy popularity among the people of the villages. They were a sector composed of rich families belonging to the elite of Jerusalem, leaning to conservatism, as much in their way of living religion as in their politics of seeking an understanding with the power of Rome. We don’t know much more.
What we can say is that «they denied the resurrection». They considered it a «novelty», proper to naïve people. Life beyond death didn’t concern them. To them doing well in this life was fine. Why get worried about anything more?
One day they drew near to Jesus to ridicule faith in the resurrection. They present him with an absolutely unreal case, a fruit of their fantasy. They speak of seven brothers who had gone marrying successively the same woman, in order to keep the continuity of their name, the honor and the inheritance of the male line of those powerful Sadducean families of Jerusalem. That’s the only thing they understand.
Jesus criticizes their vision of the resurrection: it’s ridiculous to think that the definitive life next to God would consist in reproducing and prolonging the situation of this life, and concretely those patriarchal structures that were benefiting rich men.
Jesus’ faith in the other life doesn’t consist in something so laughable: «The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob isn’t a God of the dead, but of the living». Jesus can’t even imagine that as far as God is concerned, God’s children would go on dying; God doesn’t live for all eternity surrounded by the dead. Nor can Jesus imagine that life next to God consists in perpetuating the inequalities, injustices and abuses of this world.
When we live frivolously and self-satisfied, enjoying our own well-being and forgetting those who suffer, it’s easy to think only about this life. It could seem almost ridiculous to nourish any other hope.
When we share a little the suffering of the poor majority, things change: what to say about those who die without having known bread, health or love? What to say about so many lives wasted or unjustly sacrificed? Is it ridiculous to nourish hope in God?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf