One of the interesting things I have noticed about people who don’t believe in all this Jesus stuff, is their zeroing in on the Resurrection as the self delusions of early followers of Christ who were traumatized when he died and they thought He would make them live Forever.
In one of my Lectio Divina reflections on Philippians 2:5, I posed such a question in my heart. This is what I came up with as an answer. Of course, there is only one answer. You must have assent of the mind (Faith) and acceptance of Faith by the heart (Love) to produce Hope, which can only approach the Mystery of Faith in humility and obedience to God’s will. Baptism means I am now an adopted son of the Fatther. As such, I have petiitioned the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist) to accept me as one who will try to convert myself daily from self to God.
Here are the ramblings of a broken-down, old temple of the Holy Spirit, one who trys mightily to increase the capacity of God in me (capacitas dei) so I can squeeze out my faults and limitations to make room for God’s energy.
IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION….
…there can be no Heaven, no Hell, no Purgatory, no Mystery of Faith.
—there can be no Creed we recite together to strengthen our Faith, because there is no Faith to strengthen, no God, no Christ sitting at the Right Hand of the Father, no Holy Spirit to enliven our hearts to love with all our strength.
… there can be no Jesus Christ as Son of God, Savior. Christ was just a man like us and, like us, died 2000 years ago. His followers kept his image alive to further their own ambitions.
— there can be no Eucharist, Christ as the Body and Blood we eat to have life in us.
…there can be no forgiveness of sins because there is no sin, only what I think is moral or what the law says I should do.
…there is no Church Universal, no community of faith, no grace of Baptism and Confirmation in the Spirit. They don’t exist.
…there is no sitting next to the heart of Christ, no receiving knowledge, love or hope from the heart of Christ, there is no Way, Truth, or the Life, only my way.
…there can be no transformation of self to God because there is no self, only me as god.
…there is no Hope, no Faith, no Love in the spiritual universe, only what I do in my lifetime, and I can only live up to 90 years of age, if I am lucky.
…Jesus does not live in others so there is no assembly of the faithful who are bid to love one another as Christ loved us. Christ was only a man and died on the cross, not God. He did not open the gates of Heaven, there is no Heaven to open.
…everything we do to serve others and love our neighbor is futile.
…marriage is whatever anyone wants it to be, with same gender partners, multiple partners, and has nothing to do with obedience to God’s will. There is no such thing as chastity. You are your own moral authority.
…the end of life is knowing that you did good things for others, making lots of money, achieving fame and recognition, and the respect of those around you. Death is the end.
…you don’t need to pray. Pray to whom? No one is there. Nothing beyond the grave, no Heaven, no Hell, just darkness.
…you don’t need to keep the Commandments, nor heritage passed on from Jesus as a way to love as He loved us. He died on the cross and did not rise again nor ascend into Heaven.
…you can start your own virtual religion, have any belief you want, say anything you want, because you are god and there is nothing else to life beyond the grave.
…death is as far as you can go, there is no afterlife, Christ can’t fulfill his promise to take us with him, thee is no Father, no Son, no Holy Spirit.
…Christ is only a young man with delusions of being a Messiah and a god wannabe.
…there is no Church, no saints, no praying to the saints to interceed for us with the Father through Christ, no grace.
…there are not three universes (physical, mental, spiritual) but only two (physical and mental) and so I become the center of the universe (mental not physical).
…Christ is not God, just someone with a messiah complex.
…I can sin bravely, because there is no one to tell me I am wrong except myself.
… I don’t have to pray because there is no one to pray to or to ask to interceed on my behalf.
…there are no principles outside of myself on which I base my meaning and morality.
…death and oblivion awaits those who lead a meaningful life.
SCRIPTURE AND THE RESURRECTION
St. Paul says in I Corinthians 15:
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died[e] in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.[f] 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end,[g] when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God[h] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?30 And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? 31 I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters,[i] as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
33 Do not be deceived:
“Bad company ruins good morals.”
34 Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
(Italics are mine)
WHAT IS THE RESURRECTION?
John 11:24-26 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Philippians 3:10-12 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
10 I want to know Christ[a] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;[b] but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
21 He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
23 Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. 25 What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? 26 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”