32nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“Those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Jesus’ response to the Sadducees regarding their question about the resurrection of the dead actually raises another question for us: what about marriage in heaven? We understand marriage to be “until death do us part,” but what exactly becomes of this special relationship in the afterlife?
Pope Francis gave a homily on this Gospel passage in which he discussed the mysterious transformation that will take place for those who enter into the joy of heaven. The Holy Father tells us, Jesus explains that “life after death does not have the same parameters as our earthly life. Eternal life is another life, in another dimension where, among other things, there will be no marriage… The life that God prepares for us is not a mere embellishment of the present one: it surpasses our imagination, for God continually amazes us with his love and mercy” (Angelus, November 10, 2013).
An interesting interpretation of this comes from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher of the Papal Household, who said “marriage does not come to a complete end at death but is transfigured” (Homily, November 10, 2006). Catholic author Stephen Ray described it this way in a letter to his mother who was grieving the loss of her husband: “We cannot understand our new spiritual bodies and heavenly existence any more than a caterpillar can comprehend what it will be like to be a butterfly. We cannot anticipate how personal relationships will flower in glory any more than [an] acorn can anticipate standing 50 feet tall.” Whatever it will be, we can trust it will be wonderful!