Daily Reflection
June 2nd, 1999
Maureen McCann Waldron
The Collaborative Ministry Office
Tobit 3:1-11.16
Psalm 25
Mark 12:18-27
Comedian George Carlin has an old routine in which he describes his life in Catholic grade school. Each week the parish priest would come to visit their classroom and he and his classmates would pose questions to the priest. With vivid imaginations and twisted logic, George and his friends would exaggerate the smallest facts of religion, trying to find a question that might stump the priest.

“Father, what if someone was killed on the way to confession?” might be followed up by questions about a hypothetical person killed after confession on his way out of church … but who had committed a sin as he exited … who then repented and turned to go back into church … but before he could return was hit by a car….   The questions became convoluted, unrealistic
-- and very funny.

Those grade school questions weren’t real searches for answers, but an intellectual game, which kept them from having to deal with the real lessons of faith.  I think of George Carlin and his classmates in today’s readings as the Sadducees try to trap Jesus into answers to impossible questions. Surely Carlin was inspired in his routine by today’s challenge to Jesus of a woman who married seven brothers, each of whom died without children.  When she finally died: whose wife was she?

The Sadducees' questions weren’t a search for truth but a way to avoid a real discussion with Jesus about the after-life, the real life that awaits us after death.  Jesus doesn’t try to answer their silly questions but tells them they understand neither scriptures nor the power of God.  Instead Jesus points out the truth they have been missing or avoiding all along: that God is the God of the living, not the dead and that we will all be raised again from the dead.

Aren’t we like the Sadducees at times?  We allow ourselves to be distracted from a deeper relationship with God because we carry a lot of baggage with us.  Perhaps we dwell on religious rules we don’t comprehend or hang onto a hurt inflicted by some cleric.  We are certain in our hearts the rule is unfair or we can’t forgive the religious professional who was profoundly wrong – and maybe just as profoundly human.  Certainly struggling with faith questions and relationship is a part of our lives, but could our “baggage,” our challenges and our questions, be a way to justify our move away from a deeper relationship with God?  Maybe we are allowing our own unwillingness to forgive to come between us and a deeper relationship with the one who wants to love us endlessly, the one who forgive us always.

Today Jesus invites us to lay down our baggage, our complications and those questions that aren’t really designed to draw us closer to God.  He invites us to look at our lives and place our trust in the gift of life promised by God.

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