Want to get closer to God? Ask this question!
Did anyone ever ask you a question and you wondered, "Are they really interested in the answer to the question, or are they just asking for some other reason, some other purpose? Do they have some other intention or some other motive?" Sometimes people don't act in good faith. Of course, sometimes we are those people. But we also encounter people like that in our lives. And in this Sunday's gospel, I think this is what Jesus encounters.
"There came to him some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, 'Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers, the first took a wife and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, who's wife will the woman be? For the seven brothers had her as wife.' And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore. Because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised even Moses showed in the passage about the bush, where he calls the lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now, he is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live in him.'"
So you've got this group of people, the Sadducees, they come to Jesus with this question about the seven brothers and them all dying and what happens in the resurrection. And you wonder, "Okay, what is their intention? Do they really want to know the answer, or is their motivation to embarrass Jesus or to try and trip Jesus up or to try and outsmart Jesus." As insane as that sounds, people try to do it over and over again. Of course, it's easy to look at them and think, "Okay, they're not acting in good faith." Maybe some of them wanted to know the answer, maybe some of them are acting in bad faith. But the real challenge is to look at ourselves and say, "Okay, how am I not acting in good faith in my life? In what scenarios am I not acting in good faith? In what relationships am I not acting in good faith? In what situations am I asking questions" - and those questions might only be quietly in our heart - "but I don't really want to know the answer." Very often our questions are our excuses. Very often the questions we ask God or the questions we put before other people are excuses or a way of avoiding what we're really being called to. And of course, that's what we see playing out here in the gospel today. So the first question is, "Are we acting in good faith? Are you acting in good faith?" But the last line is fascinating to me here. And the reading is in Luke's gospel, it's chapter 20, verses 27-38. And so the last line is verse 38. And it says, "Now he is not God of the dead but of the living, for all live in him." He is not God of the dead, he's God of the living. We live in him. In the mass we say, "In him, through him, in him, with him. In him we live and move." Sometimes I hear people say, "Is God in your heart?" And that's a good thing, right? But the better question is, "Are we in the heart of God?" He doesn't come into our hearts as much as we go into his heart. And we take up residence in his heart. We take up residence in God, with God, through God. And then we go out into the world and bring his life, his love, his joy to other people. God of the living, not God of the dead. So as we prepare to make our pilgrimage to mass this Sunday, let's ask ourselves, "Are we acting in good faith?" And let's ask God to give us the grace, the courage, the wisdom to enter deeper into his heart and to allow him to guide and direct the actions of our lives, the activities of our lives. Especially the way we interact with other people.