There’s an old truism once posed to me by an elderly relative when I brought up a question completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. “What does that have to do with the price of eggs?” she asked. Even as a little boy I was aware enough to know that my question was ill placed at best and impertinent at worst. I was trying to draw attention to myself as opposed to bringing more light to a disputed question.

Today’s Gospel gives another example of Jesus cutting through the foolishness all of us sometimes use to avoid facing an unpleasant truth. The Sadducees don’t take Jesus seriously from the start, but hope they have happened upon an opportunity to make themselves look clever at his expense. Jesus brilliantly turns their foolish question back on the Sadducees by describing a future in which men and women are not categorized by whom they have married. Each person is unique in the eyes of God and loved as an individual before he or she might find a life partner. In any event, such a partnership has to be based on mutual respect and responsibility.

In a recent speech, Pope Francis said of the family that there were three essential words that must be present in any family: please, thank you, and sorry. We can’t let legalism or foolish distractions about supposed rights and wrongs take us away from what Jesus is offering, which is eternal life after the crucifixion. Don’t be distracted from the need to love, or you risk being asked in the afterlife, “What does that have to do with the price of eggs?”

—Fr. Jim Prehn, SJ, is Vocation Director for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus. Learn more about the Jesuits at