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Catechism of the Catholic Church

I. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS

The progressive revelation of the Resurrection

992 God revealed the resurrection of the dead to his people progressively. Hope in the bodily resurrection of the dead established itself as a consequence intrinsic to faith in God as creator of the whole man, soul and body. The creator of heaven and earth is also the one who faithfully maintains his covenant with Abraham and his posterity. It was in this double perspective that faith in the resurrection came to be expressed. In their trials, the Maccabean martyrs confessed:

The King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws. 540 One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. 541

993 The Pharisees and many of the Lord's contemporaries hoped for the resurrection. Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?" 542 Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who "is not God of the dead, but of the living." 543

994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: "I am the Resurrection and the life." 544 It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. 545 Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, 546 announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah," 547 the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day. 548

995 To be a witness to Christ is to be a "witness to his Resurrection," to "[have eaten and drunk] with him after he rose from the dead." 549 Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him.

996 From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition. 550 "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body." 551 It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?

How do the dead rise?

997 What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.

998 Who will rise? All the dead will rise, "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." 552

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself"; 553 but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body," into a "spiritual body": 554

But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel ....What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.... The dead will be raised imperishable.... For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 555

1000 This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies:

Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection. 556

1001 When? Definitively "at the last day," "at the end of the world." 557 Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ's Parousia:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 558

Risen with Christ

1002 Christ will raise us up "on the last day"; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. For, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ:

And you were buried with him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead .... If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 559

1003 United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains "hidden with Christ in God." 560 The Father has already "raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 561 Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we "also will appear with him in glory." 562

1004 In expectation of that day, the believer's body and soul already participate in the dignity of belonging to Christ. This dignity entails the demand that he should treat with respect his own body, but also the body of every other person, especially the suffering:

The body [is meant] for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? .... You are not your own; .... So glorify God in your body. 563

Notes:

540 2 Macc 7:9.

541 2 Macc 7:14; cf. 7:29; Dan 12:1-13.

542 Mk 12:24; cf. Jn 11:24; Acts 23:6.

543 Mk 12:27.

544 Jn 11:25.

545 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40, 54.

546 Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11.

547 Mt 12:39.

548 Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22.

549 Acts 1:22; 10:41; cf. 4:33.

550 Cf. Acts 17:32; I Cor 15:12-13.

551 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 88, 5: PL 37, 1134.

552 Jn 5:29; cf. Dan 12:2.

553 Lk 24:39.

554 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 801; Phil 3:21; I Cor 15:44.

555 I Cor 15:35-37, 42, 52, 53.

556 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4-5: PG 7/1, 1028-1029.

557 Jn 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24; LG 48 § 3.

558 I Thess 4:16.

559 Col 2:12; 3:1.

560 Col 3:3; cf. Phil 3:20.

561 Eph 2:6.

562 Col 3:4.

563 I Cor 6:13-15, 19-20.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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