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Catechism of the Catholic Church

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?

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.

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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