The resurrection of Christ and our resurrection – Easter

Mary at the moment she encountered the Risen Christ – Rembrant

The Lectionary readings for Easter are the same each year. To view the readings for the Easter Vigil and the Mass for the day, go the the USCCB website here and click on the calendar in the box on the right.

This post will explore one of the themes the Homiletic Directory suggests: the Resurrection of Christ and our resurrection (CCC 638-655, 989, 1001-1002).

Christ’s Resurrection from the dead is both an historical event and a transcendent event

  • Christ’s Resurrection from the dead is an historical event.
    • It is “a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness” (CCC 639).
      • The apostles were not expecting Christ to rise from the dead and were filled with doubts when they received reports of or actually saw him.
      • They were completely transformed when they finally saw and touched Christ.
    • “As witnesses of the Risen One, [The Apostles] remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary ‘witnesses to his Resurrection’, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.” (CCC 642)
      • Paul’s witness was about twenty-five years after the Resurrection. It is one of the earliest Christian writings we possess, set down even before any of the Gospels.
  • Christ’s Resurrection from the dead is also a transcendental event. This means it is something that goes beyond the created order.
    • Christ’s resurrected body was not simply a mortal human body returned to human life and destined to die again.
    • Rather, his resurrected body is an “authentic, real body possess[ing] the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm” (CCC 645).
    • The Resurrection is “a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history” in which each of the persons of the Blessed Trinity acted (CCC 648).

The Resurrection is also the central event in the history of salvation

  • “The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings” (CCC 651).
  • “All truths [Christ revealed], even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised” (CCC 651).

“The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection”

  • “[B]y his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life” (CCC 654). Thus “Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself [- ] is the principle and source of our future resurrection” (CCC 655).
  • This is the eternal life we can begin to experience even now: “Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ” (CCC 1002).
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