Today we begin the liturgical year and as it is unfolded before us Sunday by Sunday this time we will be taking the perspective of St Matthew and will be examining the life of Jesus through his eyes.
St Luke draws an important distinction in the first line of our Gospel text today. He says, “The people stayed there before the Cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him.” He distinguishes carefully between the response of the people and their leaders. It is the leaders who mock Jesus not the people. The people stay at the Cross reverently watching Jesus saying nothing.
I think it is important to place today’s extract from St Luke’s Gospel in context. Jesus has by this point arrived in Jerusalem. He entered the Holy City on a donkey and was acclaimed by his followers as the Messiah. He then spends the next few days teaching in the Temple and we are told that he spent his nights on the Mount of Olives. His teaching has become more apocalyptic and he predicts the destruction of the Temple and weeps over Jerusalem. It is in this context that he gives this warning to his disciples to be on their guard and prepare themselves for persecution.
The Sadducees could not have put a trickier question to Jesus than this one about the widow with seven husbands. While it is a hypothetical story it is also quite an outlandish one since after two or three of the brothers marrying this woman in order to ‘raise up children for their brother’ it must have dawned on them that she was actually barren and unable to have children.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket