The consequences of Christ's transformed body
In today's gospel, we have heard the narrative of Jesus’ resurrection: the women hurrying to the tomb to put oil on Jesus three days after Friday. But what they saw was an empty tomb; instead there was a man who announced to them: he has been raised. Go to Galilee and he will show himself to you there.
In his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI presents a very enlightening catechesis on the resurrection. He referred to confessional and narrative accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.
The confessional account is what is given by St. Peter, who after the Pentecost said, “You will not let your holy one see corruption.” It is also our confession that in our faith, we solemnly say, “On the third day, he rose again, in fulfillment of the Scriptures.”
But what Pope Benedict said about the narrative account is truly interesting for us men and women of faith.
First, what is in the third day after Friday? It is Sunday, a holy day of obligation. It is the Lord’s Day. And it is the day of the Church. The resurrection is our day as a Church. When Jesus appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, he was referring to the Church – to us, dear friends. In the resurrection of Jesus, we are involved.
Second, it is about Christ’s new existence. Pope Benedict is referring to a new kind of physicality that is not bound by physical space and time, but by identity and otherness. This new form of encounter is none other than God and man himself in Jesus. Now, Jesus appears to us a pure life. And we are bound to encounter him in such the same way – as God and man. As man, he would appear to us, talk, to us, share with us. But in it he will share His divine nature. As Tertullian said, “Spirit and blood have a place within God.”
Christ’s transformed body is a place where we enter into communion with God and with one another, and thus, be able to live definitively in the fullness of indestructible life.
Third, Christ transformed mankind’s history; our history. We now have a new history which is eschatological, the indwelling of God in our history. As the Holy Father says, “Jesus left an indelible footprint in mankind’s history.”
Finally, don’t worry if after the long procession last Good Friday, the witnesses of the resurrection are as few as the people gathered here. Jesus is building a new history in the world of history – right in our very own hearts as we encounter him in the Church, in the sacraments, and with one another. Pope Benedict says, “That makes a difference and changes them forever! Jesus aims to lead to freedom through his love." And in quoting Pope Benedict once more: “What seems so small is truly great!”
Have a wonderful new experience with the Lord each day. Hallelujah!