Pope Francis: death is behind us, in front of us God of the living

2013-11-10 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) During the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focused on Sunday’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus tackled the Sadducees, those who denied that there could be a resurrection.

Listen to Giulia Cirillo's report:

The Sadducees, Pope Francis said, put the following question to Jesus, in an attempt to ridicule the belief in resurrection: “A woman has had seven husbands, who died one after the other. Now at the resurrection, whose wife will that woman be?” First of all, the Pope said, Jesus explains that life after death has different parameters from our life on earth: eternal life is a different life, in a different dimension where, among other things, matrimony will no longer exist. The risen, Jesus says, will be like angels, and they will live in a different state of being, which we cannot achieve or even imagine right now.

But then, Pope Francis continued, Jesus counterattacks, so to speak: He finds proof of the resurrection in the episode of Moses and the burning bush, where God reveals himself as the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. The name of God, Pope Francis explained, is tied to the names of the men and women to whom He ties Himself, and this tie is stronger than death. This is why Jesus affirms: “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to Him” (Luke 20:38). And the most important tie is with Jesus: He is the Alliance, He is the Life and the Resurrection, because with His crucified love He defeated death. In Jesus, the Pope said, God gives us eternal life: He gives it to everyone, and everyone, thanks to Him, can hope to live a life even more real than this one. The life that God has in store for us is not simply a better version of this one: it goes beyond our imagination, because God continually surprises us with His love and mercy.

Therefore, Pope Francis explained, what will happen is exactly the opposite of what the Sadducees expected. This life cannot be the standard for eternity: it is eternity, on the contrary, that illuminates our life on earth, and gives each of us hope. If we only look through human eyes, the Pope continued, we tend to say that the path of man goes from life towards death. But Jesus turns this perspective on its head, and affirms that our pilgrimage goes from death towards a fuller life. So, the Pope concluded, death is behind us, not in front of us. In front of us is the God of the living, the definitive defeat of sin and death, the start of a new time of joy and endless light. But already on this earth – in prayers, in Sacraments, in fraternity – we encounter Jesus and his love, and so we can get a small taste of the risen life.