Implications of Bodily Resurrection

(April 11, 2020)

Bottom line: We do all this because we believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

Today we hear Jesus say this to Thomas

"Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side...

The idea of placing ones hand in Jesus' wounded side might make a person feel queasy. Still, it dramatizes that our Christian faith is not simply spiritual, but also physical or "fleshly". From earliest times people have shrunken from this corporal side of Christian faith. In fact a whole group grew up who denied that Jesus came in the flesh. Here's what St. John says about them:

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. (II John 1:7)

Why does St. John use such strong words? Well, these "deceivers" emptied the faith of its meaning. They said because Jesus is God, he didn't really suffer. They are called Docetists from the Greek word for "appear". They thought Jesus only appeared to be a flesh and blood human.

These Docetists were sometimes also called Gnostics, from another Greek word "gnosis" meaning "knowledge". They claimed to have a secret, spiritual knowledge that made them superior to ordinary Christians. Because of that supposed superiority, they considered themselves above the commandments, especially the commandments that refer to sexual conduct. Regarding the commandments, John makes this appeal:

For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.

Jesus commands us to honor our parents, to protect the sanctity of marriage and to not bear false witness. He also commands us to care for the poor. Remember his sobering parable about Lazarus and the rich man. The early Christians interiorized Jesus' teaching to such an extend that they actually sold their property so the apostles could care for the needy.

There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Not too many people people sell their homes and bring the proceeds to Archbishop Etienne as a successor to the apostles. Yet we do pool our resources in the Annual Catholic Appeal This flows from our belief in Jesus bodily resurrection. It means we care for bodily needs of others.

Belief in Jesus' physical resurrection means that our bodies have transcendental value even when they lack perfection. I've told you about Alejandro. A case of neonatal meningitis left him partially paralyzed and subject to convulsions. On March 7 his mom died leaving Alejandro devastated. His aunt Balbina, who has three young children of her own, has taken Alejandro into their home. The Mary Bloom Center has made a commitment to purchase his medicines and to give a small help to Balbina. Your support of our food sale today will make that help possible on an ongoing basis.

We do all this because we believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. We have good evidence that Jesus rose bodily. Still it ultimately comes down to faith. After showing his wounds, Jesus says to Thomas, "do not be unbelieving, but believe." And Thomas makes the great profession of faith: "My Lord and my God." Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Easter Sunday Homilies):

2019: The Greatest Gift
2018: The Joke's On Satan
2017: Life in Christ Week 1: His Will is Our Peace
2016: The Greatest Gift
2015: Disciple Makers Week 1: Totally Fixable
2014: Journey to Hope Week 1
2013: Peter's Joy
2012: To Get Rid of My Sins
2011: Seek What Is Above
2010: Forgiven
2009: Eternal Life Begins Now
2008: His Will Is Our Peace
2007: I Have Been Baptized
2006: Peering into the Tomb
2005: Transformation
2004: Ready for Combat
2003: Something To Live For
2002: The Weakest Link
2001: A New Identity
2000: Born Again!
1999: Why I Believe

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Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

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