Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: The Resurrection of the Dead
Posted on 04/24/2003 6:20:48 PM PDT by Salvation
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Resurrection of the Dead FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
In the Gospels, Jesus had predicted three times that He would be arrested by the chief priests and scribes, suffer, be condemned to death, and be crucified; however, He also predicted that He would be "raised up" on the "third day" (cf. Mt 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19). The predictions came true. On Easter Sunday morning, when Mary Magdalene and other women, St. Peter and St. John went to the tomb, they found it empty. The angel proclaimed, "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified. He has been raised up; he is not here" (Mk 16:6). Jesus had risen body and soul from the dead.
Later, Jesus appeared to the apostles and others. He would appear and disappear suddenly. He could be embraced (Mt 28:9). He shows the wound marks of His hands and side to the apostles, and invited St. Thomas to examine them with his fingers (Jn 20:19ff). He was not always easily recognizable, as in the appearance to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:11ff) or to the apostles by the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1ff). Jesus also shared meals with His apostles (Jn 21:9ff, Lk 24:36ff) and other disciples (Lk 23:13). In all, Jesus affirmed He was not some ghost or some ancient image of "Night of the Living Dead." Jesus said, "Look at my hands and my feet; it is really I. Touch me, and see that a ghost does not have flesh and bones as I do" (Lk 24:29).
Therefore, through the resurrection, our Lord has a radically transformed or glorified existence. Glorification means that Jesus was fully and perfectly spiritualized and divinized without loss of His humanity.
We believe that we too will share this glorification. When we die, our soul stands before God in the particular judgment, and we have to account for our lives good and bad, omissions and commissions. God will then judge the soul worthy of heaven, hell or purgatory.
At the end of time the time of our Lord's second coming and the general judgment we too will share in the resurrection of the dead or body. At that time, Christ will transform the body of the righteous and make it like His own glorified body. St. Paul addressed this issue: "Perhaps someone will say, 'How are the dead to be raised up? What kind of body will they have?' A nonsensical question! The seed you sow does not germinate unless it dies. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown in the earth is subject to decay, what rises is incorruptible. What is sown is ignoble, what rises is glorious. Weakness is sown, strength rises up. A natural body is put down and a spiritual body comes up" (1 Cor 15:35-36, 42-44).
The bodies of the faithful will be transfigured to the pattern of the risen Christ. Traditionally, theology has described these glorified and perfected bodies as having the characteristics of identity, entirety, and immortality. Moreover, they will also have four "transcendent qualities": "impassibility," or freedom from physical evil, death, sickness, and pain; "clarity," or freedom from defects and an endowment with beauty and radiance; "agility," whereby the soul moves the body and there is freedom of motion; and "subtility," whereby the body is completely spiritualized under the dominion of the soul. The Catechism teaches, "After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul" (No. 1042).
What about the bodies of the souls of the damned in Hell? These bodies will have identity, entirety, and immortality, but not the four transcendent qualities. They will have the condition necessary for suffering the eternal punishment of Hell, but not the glorification of the Lord shared by those in Heaven.
Nevertheless, we must admit that this "glorification" exceeds our understanding and even our imagination. We believe it because Christ promised this resurrection of the body: "For an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear His voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned" (Jn 5:28-29).
Saunders, Rev. William. "Resurrection of the Dead" Arlington Catholic Herald.
This article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald.
Father William Saunders is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria, Virginia. The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. Father Saunders is also the author of Straight Answers, a book based on 100 of his columns and published by Cathedral Press in Baltimore.
Copyright © 2001 Arlington Catholic Herald
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Wrongo. Don't you think the thief on the cross would have had to have spent some time in this purgatory?
Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.Does anyone deserve to go to heaven past the grace of God? Can anyone merit Heaven? Is not God infinitely righteous? Is God not infinitely holy? Does God allow a soul that sins in his presence? The blood of Jesus is the only way. And as for purgatory:
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.Salvation is simply believing in Jesus as the Savior.
Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
From John 5:25-47