Easter 2011
Easter Sunday, Cycle All

It was an event that put the seal of Divine truth on the essence of our Christian Faith; or as Paul expressed it, "If Christ is not risen then our faith is in vain."

But I suggest that a big part of the Easter message is about us. It is fascinating that we who profess to believe in "the resurrection of the body and life everlasting" are relatively comfortable with the concept of eternal life but rarely give a thought to the resurrection of the body ...your body ...my body!!

We are at ease with our immortal souls leaving our mortal body at the moment of death but we forget that without the body, the human soul is incomplete.

If there is going to be PERSONAL immortality, it must involve a reunification of the human soul with the body it informed and energized.

AS with the risen Jesus, it will be a glorified body ...meaning that it might have some of the properties of an organic body but none of its limitations. Remember how the risen Jesus could pass through closed doors but could also, when it suited him, be recognized by others?

A glorified body and soul suggests the full flourishing of our human nature for all eternity. St. Thomas Aquinas, arguably the most influential theologian the Church has produced, was able to conclude that regardless of how long we lived on earth, we would rise in YOUTH because a child has not yet reached his or her potential and the aged, to put it kindly, have decreased. So it looks like we will all be in our late teens and early twenties ...WHAT A BLAST!

A contemporary scholar, Fr. John Kavanaugh, expresses it this way. "Our bodies are, in effect, made glorious. My mother, not that frail filament of a woman, but in her prime; my friendís infant girl ...fully formed as a person. Others who have gone through the crucible of life will re-embody not only their glories but also their wounds. These wounds however, like the risen Lordís, will be glorified."

All of this is more than idle conjecture, more than willful thinking. It is sound traditional theology. That having been said, there are many reasons why Christians find it hard to accept the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. There is a tendency to think that only their souls count. This idea that matter is bad and only our spirit worthwhile is actually heresy ...an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism.

Another reason given is that the whole thing flies in the face of physics, biology and chemistry. Well, these disciplines have yet to explain the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist ...not to mention the virgin birth.

Just as we cannot grasp the real presence with logic, we will never understand the "HOW" of our glorified eternal bodies.

Remember that our creeds, our solemn professions of faith. though reasonable and well founded, do not pretend to be scientific.

For people whose bodies betray and confine them and who would prefer to leave them behind along with their wheel chairs, walkers and medications ...the Church points them to a pain racked torture victim whose body was nearly ripped apart.

Jesus, Jesus who became one of us that he might go before us, transfigured, glorified, risen from death ...not resuscitated but RISEN to a new and unimaginably blessed life. Our heritage!


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