When the women reported the Resurrection to the Apostles, “their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them” (Lk 24:11). The Apostles thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus first appeared to them. Thomas refused to believe unless he could touch the nail marks.
Within a few decades, there arose heretics who denied the Resurrection because they did not think Jesus had a body at all. Greeks believed in the immortality only of the soul. Bodies did not endure beyond death. Resurrection was impossible. Nonetheless, the Apostles and other witnesses who came to faith in the Resurrection preached its reality and centrality to faith. Unless it happened, there would be no Church and no Eucharist. Early Christian believers died by the thousands for their faith in the Risen Christ and his salvation.
In our present culture, there are some who present new denials of the Resurrection. They distort the language of the New Testament to support their disbelief. Arbitrarily they “reinterpret away” what the authors of the text said and meant. In their view, the Resurrection “appearances” were either warm memories of Jesus, projections of their inner needs, or inward spiritual experiences—not real appearances, despite the concrete descriptions in the New Testament documents. Such skeptics seem to mean, “It was impossible, so it did not happen.”
The Resurrection makes credible everything Jesus did and taught. It discloses how Jesus accomplished God’s eternal plan for our salvation. Through it we taste heavenly gifts and the glory of the age to come. The power of the Resurrection reminds our culture that grace is always more powerful and effective than sin and evil.
You can read more from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, order your own copy, or read questions about it at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
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