He is not God of the dead but of the living

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 12:18-27.
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and put this question to him,
saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’
Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection (when they arise) whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob’?
He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”

Commentary

Saint Anastasius of Antioch, monk, then Patriarch of Antioch from 549-570 and from 593-599
Homily 5, On the Resurrection; PG 89, 1358

“He is not God of the dead but of the living”

“Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living,” (Rom 14,9); “He is not God of the dead but of the living.” Since he, the Lord of the dead, is living, the dead are no longer dead, but living. Life reigns in them so that they might live and never more fear death, just as “Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more,” (Rom 6,9). Raised and set free from corruption, they will never more see death; they will have a share in the resurrection of Christ just as he also shared their death. Indeed, if he came on earth, which up till then had been an everlasting prison-house, it was to “shatter bronze doors and snap iron bars,” (Is 45,2), to draw our life out of corruption by drawing it to himself, and to give us freedom instead of slavery.

If this plan of salvation has not yet been fully realized (since men continue to die and their bodies to be destroyed by death) that should not be any reason for unbelief. We have already received the firstfruits of what has been promised to us in the person of him who is our firstborn…: “God has raised us up with him and seated us with him in Christ Jesus,” (Eph 2,6). We shall come to full realisation of this promise when the time fixed by the Father has been come, when we shall put off our childish state and “attain mature manhood” (Eph 4,13. For the eternal Father has willed that his gift should stand firm. As the Apostle Paul, who was well aware of this, declared: this will come upon all humankind through Christ, who “will change our lowly body to conform with his glorious body,” (Phil 3,21)… The glorious body of Christ is no different from the body “sown in weakness, dishonourable,” (cf. 1Cor 15,42); it is the same body but changed in glory. And what Christ has accomplished by taking his own humanity, the original pattern for our nature, to the Father, he will do for the whole of humanity according to his promise: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself,” (Jn 12,32).

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About padredanivha

A Catholic priest
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