Jesus corrects and humiliates the Sadducees about Heaven when they try to trap Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Diligence so he can know and rely on the fullness of the Magisterium and by pursuing the Virtue of Hope so he can always trust and look forward to the Resurrection of the Body.
9th Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mk 12:18-27
Having previously defeated the theological challenges from the priests, scribes and elders (Mk 12:1-12) and also the attacks of the Herodians and Pharisees (Mk 13-17), Jesus now is confronted by the Sadducees, semi-secular Jews of the ruling elite class who collaborated with the Romans.
Rejecting the belief in eternal life, the Sadducees smugly attempt to publicly discredit Jesus by asking His response to an absurd scenario which they believed undermined the idea of the resurrection after death. The Sadducees base their scenario on Moses’ directive that men were duty-bound to marry and have children with their sister-in-laws if their brother died with no descendants. The Sadducees present their well-crafted scenario, describing a woman who married a man and was widowed with no children, and then married the man’s remaining six brothers in succession, each time being widowed again with no children. The Sadducees then foolishly pose their supposedly “checkmate” question to Jesus: After the woman, who was widowed seven times, finally dies, which of the brothers would she be married to in the resurrected afterlife?
Jesus cannot be tricked or stumped. He strongly rebukes the Sadducees twice, telling them, they “are misled”; this is both true and a stinging public humiliation for the Sadducees, who prided themselves on being “the elite.” He intensifies His rebuke and the humiliation of the Sadducees as He reveals that, despite being supposed pious Jews, they don’t know Scripture and don’t know the power of God. Jesus, unbeknownst to the Sadducees, gives a firsthand glimpse of Heaven, revealing that after the resurrection, male and female remain, but don’t marry, and will be like the angels. In a final rebuke, Jesus uses Scripture (Ex 3:6) to correct the Sadducees’ underlying disbelief in the resurrection of the dead, confirming that God is, the “God of the living.”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by how Jesus aggressively corrects the duplicitous Sadducees: Jesus, with remarkable restraint, reacts with controlled just Anger and bluntly Rebukes and Humiliates the arrogant Sadducees for their absurd “marriage” scenario; Divine Knowledge with the first-hand experience of Heaven as the Son of God, Jesus asserts what actually happens in Heaven (no marriage, angels exist); with perfect Logic (a part of Reason), Jesus uses Scriptural precedent to correct their opposition to resurrection, publicly condemning a key belief of the powerful ruling Sadducees, leaving them afraid to confront Him (Lk 20:40).
Know and rely on the fullness of the Magisterium
Realize: Like Satan in the Temptation and the “scripture-twisting” Sadduccees, today false teachers who rebel against Church teaching use manipulation to promote their evil views: distorting meaning; mistranslations; over-emphasizing some teachings while ignoring others; omitting or deemphasizing challenging Gospel passages from the Liturgy, etc.
Believe: Reflect upon the fullness of truth in the Magisterium of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church (CCC 84-100).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance) so I diligently fulfill my obligation to know and promote the fullness of Your Truth in the Holy Catholic Church and always oppose and correct falsehoods.
Joyfully hope in the Resurrection of the Body
Realize: Each time a Catholic man says the Creed in Mass or in praying the Rosary, he is making a solemn vow before God that he fully understands and believes everything in the Creed, including the astounding truth of the resurrection of the body.
Believe: Reflect upon The Resurrection of the Body (see CCC 988-1019).
Pray: Jesus, Resurrected Christ, help me build the Virtue of Hope so I trust in, and joyfully anticipate my own glorious resurrection and life in Heaven.