Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Saint Paul writes of the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love.  He says that love is the greatest.  It is the one that endures.  Faith is belief in things unseen.  Hope is expectation of eternal life and for the grace needed to get there.  Once we are already there, we see it.  It is no longer faith.  We already have eternal life, so there is no hope or expectation for that which we already have.

In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees try to trap Jesus with a question about the wife of seven brothers.  It was traditional that a brother would take the widow of his late brother as his wife to provide for her.  A widowed woman without children was in a precarious situation in the first century.  This is why Jesus gave Mary to John for him to care for her as a son would care for her mother.

Of course, the Sadducees tell a ridiculous story.  After brothers #1 thru #3 all die, we must start wondering what brothers #4 thru #7 were thinking.  But, the Sadducees, who did not believe in eternal life, were missing the point of eternal life with God.

Much as faith and hope are no longer useful because that for which we have faith and hope has been realized, the goods of marriage are no longer needed in heaven.  The Church teaches two primary goods of marriage: procreation of/raising children and also the good of the spouses.  For a couple that has reached eternal life, what additional good could be possible?  If we are united with God and seeing God as he is, we have the fullness of all good. 

We know that heaven is good.  In our human nature, we like to see heaven as a place…a good place.  Sometimes we fail to realize just how good heaven is.  It is so good that we must be purified of sin to even be there.  Otherwise, it would be too much for us.  In the presence of God in a way that is complete and not obscured in any way, there is nothing else that we would possibly want.  We will have happiness for all eternity in way that we cannot even imagine in this life.  And yet, we sometimes start making a list of things that we must have in heaven.  Almost like a self-centered star making over-the-top demands for what must be in our dressing room. 

God provides.  In heaven, God provides so fully that we cannot even imagine what it would be like.  But do we trust God to do just that?