Two weeks ago I gave some thoughts on the process of dying. Last week I looked at Purgatory. This week I want to focus on the Resurrection.
Jesus is RISEN!! That is the center of our faith. He is the only human to have beaten death, and He shares that victory with us. We become members of His Body by Baptism, and since He is risen, so shall we. Death loses. God and life win. That is what Christianity, our religion, is all about. God wins!!!
What will resurrected life be like? We don’t know. But it is not just immortality of the soul. It is resurrection of the body, as we profess in the Creed, so in some form it is bodily life. I take this to mean it will still be ME and it will still be YOU. We will be different, but still be US. This gives me hope that we will be able to recognize each other in heaven. Relatives, friends, co-workers, teachers, coaches, neighbors, people who helped us and were good to us, will be there and be recognizable for who they are. We will not be alone.
We should have LOTS of time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. It won’t be like it is here on Earth, but we will all be in union with the Triune God, and in an intimate union with each other through God. I hope we will meet many relatives who came before us whom we have not even heard of, much less met. And we will meet many descendants who we cannot yet even imagine. It will make for quite a party! Also, I hope that it will be possible to meet some of the saints and some important figures from history and the arts. Can I eavesdrop on a conversation between Thomas Aquinas, Paul of Tarsus and Karl Rahner? It certainly won’t be dull.
St. Paul tells us: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12) I am looking forward to knowing fully. I have a list of questions. Do you? Things like, ‘how come he was always angry with me,’ or ‘why didn’t I get that promotion,’ or ‘what was up with those two,’ and many, many others. I think it will be fascinating!
What will our resurrected bodies be like? We don’t know. St. Paul says it will be a “spiritual” body. When pressed as to what this spiritual body will be like, he has to just assure us that it will be, but now we don’t know. He resorts to an analogy. He says in 1 Cor 15:31 that when you plant a seed, what grows up is not a big seed, but rather a tree or plant of that species. The seed and the plant are not the same but are related. Similarly, a physical body is buried, but a spiritual body is risen. They are not the same, but have an essential relationship. Therefore, whatever is raised on the last day will still be me, Chuck Kullmann, but in a new way of being. Hopefully 25 pounds lighter!
Our belief in the resurrection gives our lives here meaning and value that is infinite. We will go on forever! Thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Jesus Christ. That is what we are preparing to celebrate this Holy Week.