He Is Not God of the Dead, but of the Living | iPray with the Gospel
Jesus said to the Sadducees, “that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”
The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection. They only accepted the first five Books of the Bible – the Pentateuch. To explain to them that they were wrong, Jesus quoted the Book of Exodus (3:6) which was one of those they accepted. Basically, Jesus used their own language to talk to them. This was a common feature of Our Lord’s speech. He could address fishermen or farmers or housewives as well as doctors of the law, Pharisees and Sadducees…and make Himself understood by everyone because He used ‘their language’.
We read in today’s Gospel how Jesus exposed an argument that could appeal to them. He found some common ground: they also believed in the Pentateuch. And from there, He quoted an example that proved His point. When we do apostolate we should first try to find the ‘common ground’. If we don’t speak the same ‘language’ there won’t be ‘communication’.
A young Christian girl was confronted by a friend about abortion. Her friend maintained that babies with deformities shouldn’t be born. Instead of answering back straightaway, the young Christian invited her friend and a few other mates for dinner. Since many of them were very keen on sports, they watched a bit of the Paralympic Games. All their comments were of amazement and admiration. During the medals ceremony her friend admitted that those athletes were a real inspiration. At that point the young Christian commented, ‘But they all have deformities…do you think these people appreciate having been born?’ Years later her friend explained that that moment became the turning point of her life. It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t the result of a long discussion. She wasn’t convinced by arguments. With affection and patience, and ‘using her own language’, a few years later her friend witnessed this girl’s conversion to Christianity.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, teach me to evangelise in a language that people may understand.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).