Church Teaching on Resurrection

November 6, 2016 – Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20:27-38)

Today’s Gospel features Jesus teaching the Sadducees about resurrection.

The information below from the Catechism of the Catholic Church includes some of what the Church teaches about resurrection:

991      Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. “The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live.”

992      God revealed the resurrection of the dead to his people progressively. Hope in the bodily resurrection of the dead established itself as a consequence intrinsic to faith in God as creator of the whole man, soul and body. The creator of heaven and earth is also the one who faithfully maintains his covenant with Abraham and his posterity. It was in this double perspective that faith in the resurrection came to be expressed.

993      The Pharisees and many of the Lord’s contemporaries hoped for the resurrection. Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?” Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who “is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

996      From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition.“On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body.” It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?

How do the dead rise?

997      What is “rising”? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.

998      Who will rise? All the dead will rise, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

999      How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”; but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel…. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable…. The dead will be raised imperishable…. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

1000    This “how” exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith.

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