MORENO: Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection

May 11, 2021

Christ is risen, alleluia! The Resurrection of our Lord is the central event of our faith. Every Sunday is a “mini-Easter,” and the celebration is extended for a season of 50 days that concludes on Pentecost.

The Resurrection was a transformative event for Jesus’s disciples. The encounter with the resurrected Jesus had a profound impact on the faith of his followers.

Aided by the gift of the Holy Spirit, the encounter with the resurrected Christ always culminates in a sending forth to evangelize: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21).

The Resurrection of Christ gives new meaning to their lives: they are now able to live their lives, with all their hardships, in the light of the cross. Illumined by the light of the cross and the Resurrection, they now lead a life guided by hope, with the conviction that Jesus is victorious over sin and death.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we participate in this hope. Our immersion in the waters of Baptism is a participation in His death. Our rising from the waters is an anticipation of our future rising in Christ.

This future rising in Christ is an integral part of our faith.

Every Sunday, we pray the words of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed: “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

As important as this doctrine is for our faith, from the time I encounter whole groups of Catholics who seem surprised by this teaching. “Wait a minute, our body rejoins our soul at the end of times, and we spend our eternity that way?”

That’s the tenor of the questions people have when I teach on a related topic, and our own resurrection comes up.

Unfortunately, this lacuna seems to be widespread if polls are to be believed. According to a 2015 Pew Research poll, only 67% of Catholics believed that the real fact of the resurrection was an essential part of being a Catholic.

In fact, this is not a novel issue. St. Paul had to contend with Christians in Corinth who denied the resurrection of the dead, and he countered: “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor 15:12-14).

The Easter season is a propitious time to renew our faith in the Resurrection of Christ. This is the good news that we proclaim: that God fulfills His promise of salvation.
We participate in His Resurrection. This hope of new life in Christ is the source of our joy. May the joy of the Resurrection be always a source of hope and strength in our life. †

Juan Carlos Moreno is an associate director with the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.