For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.An odd but often unconsidered or even unknown teaching of Holy Church is that not just Jesus, but every human being who has ever lived will be resurrected on the Last Day, at the very End of all things.
1 Corinthians 15:52
We gloss over it in the Nicene creed every week at Mass:
...We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.So what does this mean for us as human beings? It means a few things, right off the top of my head:
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
- Heaven will not be just a spiritual place - but will be a material place as well, because material bodies need a material place to be;
- Our bodies, though very material, will be transformed into something very new, something not seen since Jesus ascended into heaven;
- St. Paul calls these "spiritual bodies," (1 Cor 15:44) in contrast to "physical bodies," which can be confusing, because a body is physical, but it helps to be aware that physis in Greek does not mean material or corporeal, but rather, natural, so St. Paul almost certainly intended to contrast "spiritual" bodies with merely natural bodies;
- Our bodies, then, though material, will not be natural, but supernatural or spiritual, as Jesus Christ's was after His resurrection;
- These bodies, far from constraining, will liberate the soul;
- We see examples of this liberation in accounts of Jesus' resurrection - how he could eat (Lk 21:41-3) and cook fish (Jn 21:13), and so was definitely material, and yet walk through doors (Jn 20:19), so definitely was not bound by time and space as normal matter is.
More than being pie in the sky, this knowledge, once firmly ingrained in our hearts, should transform how we do everything. Merely passing concerns must yield to more eternal ones, practical questions to questions of our standing before God, lower things to the higher. With this knowledge, we are encouraged to reject sin even if it kills us. What does death matter when it will be followed by a new sort of life, a life that never dies? The Maccabees were inspired because their confidence in God's justice convinced them that He must have some means - even after death - of rewarding those who sacrificed their bodies for His sake (2 Mac 7). Have we, who have heard of a Man actually rising from the dead, who have experienced the power of the resurrection to some extent in our own lives, any excuse for being less brave in the face of life or death?