Here is a brief "afterthought" about the absence of marriage in heaven. Couples often refer to each other as "my other half" or "my better half." It is not uncommon, in fact, to hear married couples reflect on how they complete each other, and if we go back to Gn 2:18, God says,
"It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.
When we enter the heavenly realm, however, we don't enter as a couple or partnered with another person; rather, we enter alone -- as alone as when we first came to this planet! Though a loving relationship is a wonderful gift that can allow both parties to grow spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, the spiritual journey is a solo journey in which each person is called to become a whole human being, not a human being with "missing pieces" that another can fill. To be "like angels" and "children of God" means that while we can still be in loving relationships with others, we will have no need of them nor they of us. Whole and complete in ourselves, we will truly reflect the image and likeness of God. We will have completed the "Sacred Marriage" which is the marriage of the Self with our Maker.
Jesus said to them,
"The children of this age marry and remarry;
but 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.
They can no longer die, for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out 'Lord, ' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to God all are alive."
Though, at first glance, this Sunday's Gospel might seem to be about marriage and the after life, the theme is really the resurrection of the dead; Jesus' opponents pose a ridiculous question about who will be married to whom in the world to come but Jesus turns the tables by citing Ex 3:6:
"I am the God of your father ..the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob."
Instead of engaging in a futile argument, he turns to scriptural authority: if God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel), then this clearly means that these patriarchs (and matriarchs!) are still alive in God, though they have been dead and buried for millennia. Furthermore, Jesus offers an editorial comments on this:
"God is not God of the dead but of the living, for to God, all are alive"
(Lk 20:38). This argument not only silences the Sadducees, but also causes some of them to praise his response.
Time is a human construct. If we reduce our life story to a timeline. then we have a beginning point, a middle and an ending. Then it's all over and we are as dead and buried as the patriarchs. God, as pure Being, however, cannot be limited by "
." The God who is beyond all names, all images and all thoughts, is also beyond past and future. Each of us has been in the Divine Awareness from all eternity and each of us will continue on in that Awareness when we physically die. This means that while we live in "Time," God knows us in all our yesterdays and in all our tomorrows in the present tense -- at least, this is what I have come to believe.
On All Saints Day, I happened to be attending Liturgy at a nearby church when a fleeting image came to me of both my father who had died in 2017 at the age of 97, and of my sister, Patrica, who died just two weeks ago. Both of them looked radiantly happy and were smiling. I found myself wondering whether they missed all of us or whether they had any idea how many tears we had shed on account of their absence. Quite frankly, their smiles seemed inappropriate. Then insight came: they were happy because in their dimension of timelessness they were already experiencing our reunion. The image left as quickly as it had come but it provided immense comfort. From their side of eternity, my dad and my sister knew the joy of their loved ones' presence because they shared in that Divine Awareness that is beyond Time: they were not only "alive in God" but so were we.