THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC AND THE GOD OF JACOB IS NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD BUT OF THE LIVING, FOR ALL LIVE TO HIM.

HOMILY: Luke 20: 27- 40




THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC AND THE GOD OF JACOB IS NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD BUT OF THE LIVING, FOR ALL LIVE TO HIM. With these words Jesus silenced those who did not believe in the resurrection. He criticized these men unceremoniously to their face, for without faith in the resurrection they were led to judge wrongly concerning the nature of marriage. Presuming it to bind partners in the world to come as well as in this present world they created a false dilemma and so inevitably they were led to ask the wrong question. Indeed, their manner of conceiving the future life made marriage appear ultimately an absurdity in all in stances of second marriage. It is highly instructive to note how Jesus goes about answering their attempt to trap him. For one thing, he does not criticize the law or attempt to change it so that such cases would not arise in the future. He is too wise for that realizing the truth of the judicial adage that "hard cases make bad law." He does not confine himself to their legal-mind ed perspective so as to meet them on their own ground; rather, he rejects their erroneous concept of God which is latent and which explains their mistaken view of the after life. By going to the heart of the question he shows that the dilemma they pose to him is a false issue; the question they ask is unanswerable because it is based on erroneous presuppositions.

Significantly, the Lord bases his reasoning on the character of God himself. Only after establish ing the true nature of the Creator and Father of all, does Jesus speak of the characteristics mark ing the state of those who inhabit the world to come. Because God is life itself, He is the God of the living. All who are joined to Him live by sharing in His life. They necessarily do so in a manner adapted to his Being. Since He is pure spirit and eternal those united to Him in his king dom do not function according to the operations of the body in its material mode but in its spiri tual capacity. As the Lord put it:

those who are considered 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.

The phrase "like angels" (isangeloi) is more important than we might be inclined to notice, for it is perhaps the most definite description of the state of being that will characterize us for all eternity once we are taken to the Lord in death. Angels function wholly according to their spiri tual nature; they are pure intellect and free will, and adhere to God by their own choice. Since they function unimpeded in the operations of their faculties by the attachments, alterations and distortions of passion they adhere in love unalterably to God whom they contemplate and praise in unceasing worship. Because we are destined to be the same as angels, the saintly Fathers taught we become perfect by freeing our self from the distortions of passion through discipline and by the contemplation of God in his creation This in turn leads to a loving union with God which is the only state that satisfies our deepest longings.

May the Lord Jesus grant, by the grace inherent in his words we have just heard and in the sacrament of the Eucharist which we are offering here at this altar, that our faith in the resurrection be strengthened so as to enable us to live with our hope and desire centered wholly on him, our risen Lord and our Savior.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger


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Abbey of the Genesee

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Abbot John Eudes Bamberger


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Abbey of the Genesee

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