Feb. 25, 2004›››››››› Seventh Sunday Year (C)›› 1 Cor. 15: 45-49 (Luke 6:27-38)›››››››››› St. PatrickŪs parish is in Kowloon, Hong Kong.› There are four weekend Masses including a childrenŪs Mass at 10:45, Sunday.› This is the parish where I was formerly pastor. [email protected].› Cf. also Social Concerns Education: www.acpp.org --›› Fr. Gene Thalman M.M.]
Some of us are quite content with our present life.› For many of us the joys of life far outweigh the occasional rough times.› And when we think of our death, we feel sad and maybe a little scared.› Death means leaving behind all the lovely things of life: our family, our friends, our work, our recreations and our easy chair.› Furthermore we have difficulty imagining what our life will be like after death. Given a choice, we would choose to remain right where we are now.
For others, perhaps many of you sitting in this Church this morning, the sufferings of this present life seem to outweigh the good times.› It may be that your own body causes you pain and frustration. It may be some family problem or tragedy that makes life so tedious.› Or perhaps it is loneliness and boredom.› For those of you who are now experiencing this kind life, death has something to say for it.
And in verses 35-38, Paul gives a simple example that the newly baptized Corinthians could easily understand. Paul talks about a little seed.› Now this seed doesnŪt look like much of anything. But then the seed is buried in the ground. And after a time the seed turns into a beautiful flower.› Who would ever think that that plain old seed could become a lovely flower? Even the biggest tree is hidden in the life of a tiny seed.› Paul uses this example of the seed to describe life after death: žAfter we die, we will still be žusÓ but oh what a difference!
Next in todayŪs reading (verses 45-49), Paul uses the example of Adam and Christ to show the reason why this marvelous change will take place when we die. Paul says: žAdam Žbecame a living soul [human being]Ū. All the Corinthians Christians agreed that Christ was infinitely greater than Adam. And they agreed that the Risen Christ had a žliving soulÓ that he inherited from Adam. But Christ also was divine and he wished to share this divine life with us. Paul said that the Risen Christ was a žlife giving spirit.Ó›› The Risen Christ intended to give us žlifeÓ. Therefore after death we would not only be the kind of human persons that Adam was, we would also be the kind of glorious person that the Risen Christ was.
To repeat PaulŪs words in verse 49,
žJust as we resemble the man from earth (Adam) so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.Ó
››››››››››› After our Resurrection, what kind of body will we have?› Paul tells us that we will be the same person that we were in our earthly lifeůincluding our body.› But that our body will also be a new kind of bodyůlike the glorious body of our Risen Savior.
OUR CATECHISM›› The 11th Article of the Apostles Creed statesÓ
›žŪI believe in the Resurrection of the body.ŪÓ
›žThe Žresurrection of the fleshŪ (the literal formulation of the ApostlesŪ Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our Žmortal bodyŪ will come to life again.Ó
After our death with Christ, we will still be žyouÓ, žheÓ, žherÓ and žmeÓ.›
TodayŪs reading is a source of joy not only for the Corinthian Christian community but for all of us who make up St. PatrickŪs community.› When this short life is past, we, all of us, the whole of usůall that makes a human being a human being will continue to live on but in a marvelous way. A real human being includes human spirit, human thoughts and human memories.› A real human being includes a face that people can recognize.› A real human being includes bones, blood, skin, blood and all kinds of organs and stuff inside. In other words we wonŪt be floating around like disembodied shadows.› So to the question: žWhat kind of body will we have?Ó› Paul and our Catechism answers: žA real human body.Ó
Paul quotes Isaias 64: 3
žŪEye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.ŪÓ›
TodayŪs scripture reading is consolingůGod has prepared for us a wonderful surprise. Through the eyes of Faith we can view our ž÷physical deathÓ as completing our Ždying with ChristŪ and so completing our incorporation into him in his redeeming act.Ó› Those are the words of our Catechism.
That is why St. Therese of Lisieux said when she was dying at the age of twenty-four years old: žI am not dying; I am entering life.Ó› St. Paul said as he neared the end of his life: žMy desire is to depart and be with Christ.Ó
May I suggest that during the coming week, we read and think about what Paul has written in the 15th chapter of St. PaulŪs Letter to the Corinthians.› You may also read this chapter to some elderly or sick person who needs some cheering up.
››››››››››› Which chapter of St. PaulŪs First Letter to the Corinthians do you intend to read this week? [žChapter 15!Ó] ÷. I didnŪt hear anything.››
Feb. 25, 2004›››››››› Seventh Sunday Year ©›› 1 Cor. 15: 45-49 (Luke 6:27-38)
TWO WORDS:› Joy of Resurrection
THEME:› We attempt to give some indication of the glorious life that God is preparing for us.
TEXT:› žPerhaps someone will say, ŽHow are the dead to be raised up?Ó
TYPE OF HOMILY:› Encouragement
DESIRED RESULT:› Dear Father, My life has been very difficult recently.› I have a serious illness. As a result of last weekŪs homily, I kept thinking about the kind of life that God is preparing for me.› It made me feel kind of good.› I think it is my special mission to show to non-Christians my joy and belief as I prepare for death.
CHURCHŪS POINT OF VIEW
››››››››››››››› Article 11 žŪI believe in the Resurrection of the body.ŪÓ› Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Mission Hills: Benziger Publishing Co, 1994), P. 258
žThe Žresurrection of the fleshŪ (the literal formulation of the ApostlesŪ Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our Žmortal bodyŪ will come to life again.Ó Ibid.› #990, p. 258.
›ž÷physical death completes this Ždying with ChristŪ and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act.Ó› Ibid. #1010, p. 263.
žIn death, God calls man to himself.› Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death like St. PaulŪs ŽMy desire is to depart and be with Christ.ŪÓ (Phil.1: 23) Ibid. 1011 p. 263.
žI am not dying; I am entering life.Ó Ibid. 1011 p. 264 (quoting St. Therese of Lisieux, The Last Conversations.)
žWe must reassert here what has already been presented in chapter 5ůnamely that the human person not simply an embodied spirit, in the sense that the body is base, inhuman, and without intrinsic worth. ŽHoliness is wholenessŪ (Goldbrunner) ÷Our hope is not simply the salvation of our soul but the salvation of our whole being.Ó Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism Study Edition,› (Minneapolis, MN: Winston Press, 1981) p. 1149.
žNor is our resurrection at the end of the resurrection only of so many individuals.› Our bodiliness also is the natural basis of our solidarity with others and through them with God.› We are human insofar as we are oriented towards others.› And our orientation toward others is made possible and necessary by our bodiliness.› The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is the foundation for the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.› The life after death is also communal life. And thus, too, the resurrection of the body cannot be achieved until the consummation of history itself.Ó› Ibid. p. 1150
žFor him [Paul] the resurrection in which we all hope will be a resurrection of the body (1 Corinthians 15), because the body (soma) is intrinsic to the being of the human person (1 Corinthians 15:15-19), ŽBodyŪ is not just that through which the spirit acts; it is the whole person.› This notion of the body does not eliminate the traditional idea of the soul.› Rather it emphasizes the until of the human person.Ó Ibid. p. 145.
[Do we have to wait till the last day to enjoy our glorified bodily existence?]
žIt is not biblical usage to speak of a purely disembodied soul of man.
žHow then are we to understand the texts?› They speak of a ŽtodayŪ with reference to something which is not entirely without a body.› And at the same time, they speak of those who Žshall liveŪ after death.› What message is to be read here? It seems to be that we are to think of the ŽtodayŪ as something that has already begun, and that it is not without the body.› In other words, existence after death is already something like the resurrection of the new body.Ó The New Catechism: Catholic Faith for Adults (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967) ›pp. 473-474.
When I was a kid, I had a picture of žlife after deathÓ as wearing a white angel suit, playing a harp and singing the kind of hymns that God likes.› And although I would have a body it wouldnŪt be much like my present bodyůperhaps mostly a lot of air.› There wouldnŪt be much in the line of skin, bones, muscles and blood. To be quite frank, life after death didnŪt seem like a lot of fun. The only positive aspect was that it would be better than the other place.
The sermon is personally of great interest to me and I suspect to fellow septenarians.
Feb. 25, 2004›››››››› Seventh Sunday Year ©›› 1 Cor. 15: 45-49 (Luke 6:27-38)
1.› __T/F› After death we will be floating around like happy ghosts.
2.› To describe the difference between our present kind of existence and our existence with the
›››› Risen Christ as the difference between a flower ________ and a beautiful flower.
3.›› From Adam we have inherited a ________ body.› From Christ we receive a _________body.
4.›› After death we will bear the likeness of the man from ______ and the man from _________.
5.› (Optional) Write something about you imagine life after death to be.