In today’s Gospel the Sadducees, sympathetic to the Hellenization of Jewish culture and, as a result, skeptical about the resurrection, are presenting Our Lord with what they see as proof that the resurrection, a teaching held by the Pharisees of the time, is absurd. In today’s First Reading we see an attempt to violently Hellenize the Jews by forcing them to abandon Jewish practices. The Jews who aided in Hellenization and the Jews who fought back are the predecessors of the Sadducees and the Pharisees respectively. In Our Lord’s time the battle had shifted from outright persecution to ideology.
Believers today are in both situations: outright persecution or intellectual ridicule. So we have to turn to Our Lord to see how the face the injustice of attacks on our belief. Today’s readings don’t paint a portrait of combat or dialectic debate; Paul in the Second Reading teaches us that no matter what we suffer for our belief: “the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” Our faith will help us endure. The enemies of our faith have none, which is why they’ll never see beyond their ideologies or selfish scheming. Our Lord reminds us today that even if we don’t have justice in this earthly moment of our life, we will have it in eternity. Faith in eternal life is what led the young men in the First Reading to embrace martyrdom, and eternal life was the outlook that confounded the Sadducees arguments in today’s Gospel as well.
As Our Lord shows us today, you have to know your faith in order to effectively defend it; it has to shape your outlook on life. Reason without faith is seriously stunted; reason with faith can take us to new heights of insight. Ask Our Lord today for a strong faith that resists its detractors and shapes our outlook on life.