Christ is Risen! Truly he has risen!
In the modern area, one of the truths of our faith that can be difficult to appreciate is the resurrection of the body. Though it is this very reality we celebrate throughout the many weeks of Easter, modern man seems to find the idea distasteful.
There is a certain irony in this. Without a doubt, it is the modern era, more than any other, that has the greatest focus on the human body. There are countless book and videos dedicated to diet and wellness. Media is saturated with images of physical beauty and methods of how to attain it. Shows like “The Biggest Loser” are national hits. Gyms and health clubs are ubiquitous. We invest excessive amounts of time, energy and resources, to extended life to the utmost extreme. Health care alone accounts for over 4 trillion dollars per year of US spending.
However, even with this near obsessive focus on physical health, beauty, and longevity, the idea of an afterlife in which we have physical bodies is widely rejected. Why?
For some, it seems that the idea of a physical resurrection is not sufficiently ‘spiritual’ for their tastes. Though most of humanity spends the vast majority of their time focused on their physical well being and happiness, the idea of an afterlife which includes this vital element of human existence is considered beneath them.
This sentiment, that bodily life is less than ideal for us, is not new. In fact, we encounter it in the scriptures themselves. While St. Paul was preaching in Athens he speaks to the reality of the resurrection: “God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed [Jesus Christ], and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”
What was the response of the Greeks, those enlightened philosophers? “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, ‘We should like to hear you on this some other time.'” Therefore, the educated Greeks either dismissed the idea out of hand or lost interest altogether. Indeed, the scriptures make clear that St. Paul found few there who accepted the truth of the Gospel.
This spiritual elitism was a stumbling block to faith in the Greeks and it is just as truly a stumbling block for belief in modern man. It is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus that shows the falseness of this elitism. The eternal, omnipotent and transcendent God, deigned to assumed our very flesh: to live in it and to die in it. If our flesh was merely an instrument by which to save our souls, he could have left his body in the grave. But, instead, he resurrected his body in glory and power, uniting it for all eternity to the Divine Majesty.
Praised be Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, now and forever!