“He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Jesus finds Himself confronted by Sadducees on the question of the resurrection of the dead (they do not believe in it) (Lk 20:27-40).  They pose to Him a problem: If a woman marries seven times, to whom will she be married in the next life?  Jesus answers by saying that there is no marriage in eternity.  Addressing the issue of resurrection more generally, Jesus refers to God speaking to Moses from the burning bush, when He said that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — a God of the living, not of the dead (see above).  The scribes tell Jesus He answered well and then no one asks any more questions.  Much debate occurs between Catholics and many Protestants regarding the efficacy or even the appropriateness of praying for the dead and asking intercessory help from those who are with God.  In this passage Jesus not only gives us a glimpse of what the faithful can expect but also confirms that “all are alive” –  we living on earth and those who have gone before us.  So pray for the help of the saints who gave witness by their lives (and often their deaths) their closeness to the Lord.  And let this reading remind us that we can ask for aid from the great Old Testament figures who were so important in God’s plan of salvation, overcoming immense challenges to do the Lord’s will for His people.  They can surely appreciate our small struggles and advocate on our behalf.

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