Resurrection of the Body!

Easter Sunday

Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3: 1-4; Jn 20: 1-9

Deacon Larry Brockman

The Lord is Risen!  But just what does that mean to most of us?  Have you ever really thought about it?   

For the 40 days of Lent we were all asked to reflect on our lives, just like Jesus did when he went into the desert for 40 days.  We needed to appreciate the great gift that God the Father gave us in his only begotten Son- that Jesus Christ, God made man, came and walked amongst us, lived among us, and showed us the way to please God.  He showed us that we must all be willing to accept God’s will, take up our own crosses, whatever they might be; and follow after Jesus in defending the truth and living that life, even if we have to suffer in the process.   And the key to living the life God gave us is to do everything out of love.  The reason we follow Jesus is because he promised us that we would receive a share in his inheritance-  Resurrection and Everlasting Life.  But what does that really mean for us?

Now this morning, we see that even after everything Jesus told his disciples about what would happen to him, including His suffering, death, and resurrection, they just simply still didn’t get it; and here’s the proof:  Mary Magdalene says “They took the Lord and we don’t know what they did with him!”  Even the disciples needed to see the rolled up burial cloths before they believed.    And so gradually, slowly, almost painfully, the Disciples began to see.  If we read further in the Gospel, we would hear accounts of the Risen Jesus walking, talking, eating, and being in their presence.  He tells them that if they believe and follow after him, they too will be resurrected when they die and will live forever in the Kingdom of God.    

So, the reality of the Resurrection settles in with the Disciples.  That reality is expressed well in Peter’s address in our first reading from Acts.  The disciples have now had a complete conversion- they saw, they comprehended, and they believed.  What was the essence of that conversion?  Well, that life in this world is not all there is to life.  They realized that if they followed after Jesus, they would be resurrected in body on the last day.  And they were filled with joy and inspiration when they realized that.   

You know, I think most of us never really ponder the implications of that.  Our bodies will be resurrected with us; and that gives new meaning to what life in the Kingdom of God will be like.  It gives new meaning to what all of our bodily experiences in this life are for; especially in that we all have relationships and special talents.  We naturally assume that life in the next world will be life in the spirit world  because that is our perception of where all our loved ones who have passed away are.  But what about the Resurrection of the Body?   We profess this truth every time we say the Creed- that “We believe in the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting, Amen”. 

Why is that in the Creed?  Because the Apostles saw the Resurrected Jesus in his glorified body.  And based on what he did and said during the 50 days that he spent with them until his Ascension, they came to believe thoroughly in the Resurrection of the Body as well.     

Now St. Paul tells the Colossians that “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.”  And we are to “Think about what is above, not what is on earth.”  If we do that, he tells us that “When Christ your love appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.”  So, at the Last Judgment, Christ will appear, and so will all of us who believe in our glorified bodies.   

But just what is it that is above that we should seek?  Well, everyone in the Kingdom of God is in harmony with God and with each other.  And that is what we need to seek, those are the things that are above.  Somehow we will all be in harmony with each other; we will exercise our talents for the common good, not just for our own good; and we will all be happy and in the presence of God forever.   

In the last month, all of us have witnessed something that has never occurred in the history of the world before.  Amazingly, just about all of the world governments are cooperating remarkably well to suppress the Corona Virus.  And just as amazingly, most of the people are cooperating as well.  But sadly, all of this is based on secular knowledge and efforts.  Our Bishops, the Pope, and other religious leaders have called us to pray, but we are hampered aren’t we.  We can’t gather in our Churches, and although there have been some efforts, there are no cohesive efforts to bind us together.  Moreover, as our President has remarked, the path back to “normalcy” is completely unknown.   

If ever there was a time when we needed to “seek the things that are above”, it is now.  If ever there was a time when we needed God to shepherd us; it is now.  If ever there was a time we needed to trust in God; it is now.  Look at it this way.  We are close to the Kingdom of God- as Jesus said, it is amongst us.  But we may also be far from it, if we just depend on ourselves.   

I bring this up, because it is important that we focus on two things in this time of need, as people of the Resurrection:  first, we need to embrace the things that are above- to be in harmony with God and his plan for us; and second, we need to realize that no matter how bad things might get in our physical world, this life is not what it’s all about.  That puts the proper perspective on the Virus and its effects on us.  That perspective will help us to avoid panic and selfishness; and to trust in God’s providence.   

You know, the Resurrection signaled a new beginning for mankind.  Before the Resurrection, there was no certainty of everlasting life.  God had revealed it through the prophets; but there was a lot of controversy over it because people wanted “proof”.  Jesus’ Resurrection wiped away all doubt for his witnesses, some 500 of them.  We are the benefactors of those witnesses; their testimony has been passed down to us.   

We are all in for a metamorphosis of sorts in this world as we emerge out of quarantine and lockdowns.  But it is only one of a number of metamorphoses we will experience going forward.  This one right in front of us may be big; it may be relatively small.  But compared to our metamorphosis at death; and the subsequent metamorphosis of the Last Judgement and the Resurrection of the Body; well, it is relatively minor. 

As people of the Resurrection, we know that there is no reason to panic because God loves us and his plan for us ends in the Resurrection of our bodies in the Kingdom of God.  That’s what it’s all about. 

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