The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, approached Jesus to try to put him on the spot. According to the ancient law of Moses,1 if a man died without leaving children, the brother was to marry the widow in order to raise up offspring for his brother, and the first of the children he had was to be named after the deceased. The Sadducees try to ridicule the faith in the resurrection of the dead, inventing a picturesque problem. If a woman marries seven times when she is widowed of successive brothers, whose wife will she be in heaven? Jesus answers them by revealing the frivolity of the objection. He answers them by reaffirming the existence of the resurrection, using various passages from the Old Testament, and by teaching the properties of the resurrected bodies, the Sadducees' argument vanishes.
The Lord reproaches them for not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God, for this truth was already firmly established in Revelation. Isaiah had prophesied: the multitudes of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to eternal life, others to shame and confusion; and the mother of the Maccabees comforted her children at the moment of martyrdom by reminding them that the Creator of the universe (...) will mercifully restore your life if you now despise it for the sake of his holy places5. And for Job, this same truth will be the consolation of his bad days: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that on the last day I shall rise from the dust (...); in my own flesh I shall behold God.
We must foster in our souls the virtue of hope, and concretely the desire to see God. "Those who love each other seek to see each other. Those in love have eyes only for their love. Is it not logical that this should be so? The human heart feels these imperatives. I would be lying if I denied that I am so moved by the eagerness to contemplate the face of Jesus Christ. Vultum tuum, Domine, requiram, I will seek your face, O Lord "7. This desire will be satisfied, if we remain faithful, because God's solicitude for his creatures has provided for the resurrection of the flesh, a truth that constitutes one of the fundamental articles of the Creed,8 for if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither did Christ rise. And if Christ is not risen, our preaching is in vain, and our faith is also in vain9. "The Church believes in the resurrection of the dead (...) and understands that the resurrection refers to the whole man": also to his body.
The Magisterium has repeated on numerous occasions that it is a question of a resurrection of the same body, the one we had during our passage on earth, in this flesh "in which we live, subsist and move". For this reason, "the two formulas resurrection of the dead and resurrection of the flesh are complementary expressions of the same primitive tradition of the Church", and both ways of expressing them should continue to be used.
The liturgy takes up this consoling truth on numerous occasions: In Him (in Christ) shines the hope of our happy resurrection; and so, though the certainty of dying saddens us, we are consoled by the promise of future immortality. For the life of those of us who believe in you, Lord, does not end, it is transformed; and, as our earthly dwelling is dissolved, we acquire an eternal mansion in Heaven. God awaits us forever in his glory. What a great sadness for those who have set everything in this world! What a joy to know that it will be we ourselves, soul and body, who, with the help of grace, will live eternally with Jesus Christ, with the angels and the saints, praising the Most Blessed Trinity!
When we grieve over the death of a loved one, or accompany in their sorrow those who have lost someone of their family here, we must make manifest, before others and before ourselves, these truths that flood us with hope and consolation: life does not end here below on earth, but we go to meet God in eternal life.
Hablar con Dios