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Why we all doubt the resurrection

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 11/19/22

There’s not only a Pharisee hidden in us, there’s also a Sadducee with all his doubts about the resurrection hidden there. 

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

“Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus.” This is how today’s Gospel account begins, and it reminds us that there’s not only a Pharisee hidden in us, with his obsessive love of structures, rules, and judgments, but there’s also a Sadducee with all his doubts about the resurrection hidden there. 

This shouldn’t shock us, because the mystery of the resurrection is indeed a mystery. It would be too reductive to think that some reasoning or image could contain such an immense truth that eludes any exhaustive understanding. Many, in fact, at best think that resurrection is the return to life of a dead body, perhaps as happened to Lazarus.

However, resurrection isn’t the mere revitalization of a dead body; it’s a new life given to matter itself that enters a new dimension. We know nothing about it except what we can gather from the evangelists’ attempts to tell us about the appearances of the risen Jesus himself.

Surely, however, Jesus does not want to explain to us the science of what happens, but rather the essence of it. The world of the resurrection is a completely new world:

“The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” 

We do not know what will happen materially, but we do know that we will be free from the way of thinking based on possession that we normally deal with in this world. Therefore, growing in the logic of the resurrection means growing in the logic of freedom.

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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