Easter Monday


Scott and Chanel Cunningham
Knights of Columbus State Advocate

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
                Psalm 16

Easter celebrates the victory Jesus has won over sin, sickness, corruption and death. We celebrate it because He shares his victory with us.
In the face of several centuries of cold scientific study, it is hard to maintain a belief in life after death. What evidence do we have for such a belief? “The bright, shining light” that some people claimed to see when their hearts stopped for a moment? But they really weren’t dead. They were only in mortal danger of dying and were fortunately revived. I heard a doctor explain the only known cure for death is Talitha cum and Lazarus, come out! “When you’re dead,” he said, “you’re dead.”

Our predicament wonders about those who are clearly dead, for months and years and now centuries. What hope do we have for their revival? Some Jews don’t believe in life after death and we inherited our belief in everlasting life from them!
And where will all those people go on judgment day? Will there be enough room for everyone? Of course, if you’re a fundamentalist you think there will be only 144,000 saved, fewer than the population of most cities. Given the great cost of our salvation, the death of Jesus Christ the Son of God, that seems rather parsimonious.
And how long is eternity, anyway? Could King David imagine that his kingdom would last till 2011 A.D, some three thousand years, with no end in sight? He probably thought the End would come a lot sooner than that.

In short, there seems to be a lot more questions than answers about everlasting life. And yet we believe in it. We who love Jesus cannot imagine that he will abandon us to the cold emptiness and utter pointlessness of annihilation.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
In our Catholic tradition we honor Mary as the second person to be exempted from the ignominy of corruption. There too, imagination fails us. We can’t imagine Jesus permitting his most faithful mother to undergo corruption in an unmarked grave. The doctrine of her Assumption is an assurance to all Christians that we will be raised up with Jesus. Where she has gone we hope to follow.

Science can tell us only about things it measures, which is a laughably small fraction of reality. We have far more evidence of everlasting life in our everyday experience of this world. How many times have I died already and been revived? I was lost in foolishness, stupidity and sin; and I have been delivered. I was overcome with despair and I was given hope. I believed I could not be forgiven and yet ordinary, sinful, good people forgave me.
No one expected Jesus to rise from the dead. They could not see it coming. Our scriptures testify to that as all of the stories of his post-resurrection appearance describe their utter astonishment. They thought he was a ghost or a garrulous stranger or a silly rumor generated by hysterical women. No one can predict the future and anyone who denies the power of God to raise the dead is talking through his hat. He has no evidence to back his scientific claim. We cannot imagine what eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has ready for those who love him.

Though we have not seen, we rejoice. Alleluia, the Lord is risen. 

2 comments:

  1. What about the resurrection of our bodies? I have been contemplating this for some time since it is part of the profession of faith. I am not sure I understand or believe in it. Which version of our bodies will be restored and why? What is the need of the dust we are made of?

    Thanks for pointing me to your blog after mass the other day. I plan on visiting it daily.

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  2. Of course we have questions about the resurrection of the body, but the only answer the Lord gives is a promise. And that is far more satisfying than careful explanations. I'm glad you've joined the discussion!
    Fr Ken

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All comments are welcome! I appreciate nice thoughts and can probably endure pushback.