Grace to you!
One of the memorable conversations I had as a seminarian was dialoguing with a skeptic who insisted that he didn't believe that there is resurrection. Ill-equipped to dialogue with him, his position left me thinking. I was still a teen at the time, with the simple faith of a boy.
But I managed to say something that I didn't know made a huge impact on his life. I said to him: In that case, our life here on earth is nothing but mere material existence with no value beyond what we have now. He wanted to nod in affirmation, but I sensed a sort of hesitancy to his agreement.
A couple of days passed, he invited me back to his home. He told me he thought genuinely about what I said and asked to hear more about resurrection and the meaning of life beyond death. It happened that in the end, he felt a deeper hunger to be a Christian. God bless his heart for opening it to the grace of new life in Christ.
The issue of resurrection is core in many religious traditions. It is one of the most debated topics in philosophy and theology. In Christianity, it is not straightforward either. There are various views. They include those who claim everyone is resurrected (saved) and those who say there is no resurrection, just like the Sadducees in the Gospel of Mark 12:18-27. There is also the orthodox teaching of the Church that the righteous, those saved by God’s grace through faith and charity, rise to a new life in Christ.
There are also many other arguments on how resurrection occurs. It includes whether we rise with the same body, a transformed body, or no form of our body. There are various arguments to this debate as well, which are not within the scope of our reflection. There is also the issue of when the resurrection occurs or will occur. Among them include those who say it will happen when Christ comes back to the earth and establish a new world of heaven and earth (amillennialists). There is a second camp that emphasizes it will be after the “age of the millennium," after which all will know Christ. The Christian faith will dominate the world. Then Christ will come, and resurrection will occur. It is the so-called postmillennialism. There is another argument that it will be after the return of Christ on earth, and his second reign for a millennium. Then there will be the resurrection of humanity. This view is known as premillennialism. Plus, a few other nuanced views.
One can see how complicated this issue could be. But the Lord has a way of making the truth of the Gospel accessible to a simple heart. He speaks to a Sadducee who doubts the resurrection about how valid and trusting one must be of God who is alive and for whom, those who die in him live on in glory. God is not of the dead but God of the living (see Mark 12:18-27).
At the resurrection, it is not a new version of our earthly life. It is a new life in Christ. Such life is lived like those of the angels. Resurrection, the Lord assures us, is for real. And the life of the resurrection is the fulfillment of all our desires, for we shall see God face to face. We shall behold the face of our Lord (I Jn 3:2).
I pray that we may know and love Christ, and the power of the grace of resurrection he gives. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Readings, Wednesday, Week 9: 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12; Mark 12:18-27]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.