Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.”- Luke 20:34-36
This week I met the nicest boy living in the streets.His name is Luzival and he is 11 years old. He is relatively new to the streets; he has been homeless for two months at least.
Luzival wanted to play a game of badminton. He noticed that Mary and I did not participate because it was a game for four people. He did not want us to be left out and asked if there was a game where everyone could participate. Throughout our time together, we saw that Luzival was always making sure that no one was neglected and showed concern for those around him. When I asked him about his home, he just said that it was far away. He did not want to say anything else about his home. This made me think why a sweet boy like him would leave his home and live in the dangerous streets. I think Luzival believes that living in the streets was the best option for him. He was too nice and kind to be in the streets but it was the best option his reality presented to him.
Every Sunday, most churches in the world will hear the above gospel text read during the liturgy. Many will hear their ministers making this text alive and relevant in the context of their congregation. Luzival is a member of my congregation. The Hope of the Resurrection must speak to him in his context.
When we speak of the Resurrection, it is usually in the context of the afterlife. However, in the New Testament, the Hope of the Resurrection transformed the life of the apostles in the here and now. It is the hope that brings a new reality into our limited perspective of life. The Sadducees thought that the concept of resurrection was ludicrous because they were trying fit the Resurrection in their limited view of reality. The Resurrection is about New Reality. You cannot pour new wine in old wineskins (Mark 2:22). When Jesus said that we will become like angels, popular culture has distorted this important symbol and made it into something silly like people having wings and harps. Angels live in a richer dimension of reality and they pursue higher goals than we who are trapped in this materialistic aspect of reality. Angels in the Bible are purveyors of God’s presence in this world. We will become like angels means that our understanding of reality will be transformed. In the resurrected Christ, we see that the reality of the resurrection is so powerful that it is able to take the tragedies of life like the torture and crucifixion of Jesus and transform them into marks of eternal blessing. Most importantly, the power of the resurrection is not something we can induce but it is something that flows from the loving heart of our Father. It is a new reality that transcends all the limitations of the life. It is new reality that is present in the here and now and is able to take the tragedies of this life and transform them into opportunities of eternal blessings.
Luzival and the others like him do not want a better reality (better is not the same as new). Their reality is so bad that the streets are an improvement. They don’t need something better but they need a new reality. We do not have the capability to give them this new reality. Angels do not change our reality. They just point us to the One who is able.
How do we experience the Hope of the Resurrection? The reality of the Resurrection is a mystery. It cannot be explained. Jesus never explained it n the text above. Instead He pointed out to the Sadducees that God is not experienced in the afterlife but He is experienced in the present, or in the here and now. The power of the Resurrected Christ is not a theory we expect to experience after death. It is reality that comes with a true encounter with our God.
Every encounter with the resurrected Christ makes the new reality our only reality. Luzival should not be in the streets. None of these children and teens should be in the streets. However, their reality has brought them here and reality of street life is slowly destroying their innocence. We are the children of the resurrection. It is our role to bring the message of the new reality to these little ones. First we need to conform ourselves to this new reality and only then our lives can guide them to the Resurrected One who truly transforms their tragic stories into eternal victories in the here and now.