Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard two stories, one from the first reading, from the Book of Tobit, in which the son of the faithful Tobit, Tobias was sent to his relative, Ragouel who has a daughter named Sara, who was beset by a powerful demon, Asmodeus. She had had seven husbands, all of whom had died before they were able to consummate the marriage, because of the work of the demon, and she was highly distressed because of that.
But through the her prayers, which she made in her time of distress and despair, the Lord had heard her call for help, and sent to her the Archangel Raphael, who with Tobias, the son of Tobit, chased the demon away from her, and Sara was given to Tobias as a wife. And the demon did not disturb her any longer, and a new family was created, eventually leading to the healing of Tobit who became blind, and could see again.
This is likely the story which the Sadducees quoted in the time when they tried to argue with the Lord Jesus, which we heard today in our Gospel passage. The Sadducees were the group of powerful and influential people, one of the two main power groups in control of the Jewish society at that time, in opposition to the Pharisees, the other group in power.
Unlike the Pharisees, whose unbending and strict adherence to the laws of Moses brought them into conflict with Jesus because of the Way which He had taught the people, bringing the real truth and meaning of the Law away from the corruptions of the laws which the Pharisees upheld, the Sadducees were against the Lord Jesus because He preached about His own death and later resurrection, as well as resurrection of all the people into a new life in God.
That is because the Sadducees were the ones who enjoyed the good fruits of this world, those who were close to the ruling nobles and rulers, especially with Herod the king of Galilee and other powerful people in the society. They were the ruling elite, who enjoyed the privileges and influences of this world, and therefore, they believed in living their lives in this world, their earthly existence to the fullest, and refused to believe of the notion of life after death.
The Sadducees therefore argued with Jesus, using the example of the woman who had had seven husbands to trap Jesus, by using the legal examples of the law of Moses, which allowed a woman to remarry the brother of her husband if her husband has died without having a children with her, which in fact, is what the Sadducees put in place against Jesus, when the woman married all the seven brothers, and all died without having any children.
Their inability to comprehend the truth and teachings of Jesus lay in the fact that they still thought of the afterlife in the same manner as their earthly existence, whereas in fact, the life after death for all of us is an existence far superior and perfect compared to what we have now on earth. The Lord told us mankind to marry and procreate to fill the earth with our descendants, because we are still living in this world, and are still bound to it, with all of our earthly desires and wants.
However, once we have been brought into the new and eternal life in God, we have no more need for such earthly desires, sustenance, relationships or other things such as money, influence, power, and all the other things we mankind normally treasure in this world, and particularly important for those Sadducees, who valued their worldly existence above everything else. No, that is not the case, since when we are with God, we have all we need through Him, and He is our Bridegroom, Who will be with us forever.
That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings are reminders for us to live as how the Lord had taught us to live, as Christians, who are not so much concerned about worldly matters and worries, so as to detract us from our true goal, that is to love the Lord and to serve Him with all of our heart and strength. We should not be greedy or be preoccupied with gathering material wealth and worldly influence or power, all of which are superfluous in nature, for none of these will be ours as we pass through from death into new life in God.
Which one do we want, brothers and sisters in Christ? To enjoy so much the pleasures and goodness of life in this world, and yet then falling into eternal damnation and suffering in hell? Or rather for us to be focused on the Lord and His way, the way which He had shown us all, that as true and devout Christians, we may live our lives filled with love and care, for the Lord first of all, and then also for our fellow brethren? In the end, the Lord will reward us with life everlasting with Him, and we will experience true joy and happiness that the world cannot give.
May the Lord be our strength, and may He guide us in this journey of life, so that it does not matter what kind of problems we have encountered in life, we will always persevere through and remain faithful to the Lord, and not be distracted by the many temptations of worldly life. Let us seek the Lord and remain true to Him forevermore. Amen.