One thing that makes Christianity different than other religions is that we believe that the body matters. We are not just a spirit occupying a physical form. We do not become just spirits or angels when we die. In a real sense we are our own bodies just as much as we are our souls. In fact, from the beginning God did not intend for our bodies and souls to be separated from each other. That state which we know as death only came about because sin entered into the world. It is exactly why the resurrection of all the living is important.
There are many implications of our belief that our bodies matter. Some of them include:
- We ought to treat our own bodies with respect. We owe it to ourselves to be healthy, free of abuse and avoid what could harm us.
- We ought to treat the bodies of others with respect. That is why it is wrong to harm others or use people.
- We also must treat the bodies of the dead with respect because Our Lord will one day resurrect the dead. That is why the Church forbids scattering ashes of the deceased.
- We believe that we will be resurrected. It is only then that our redemption is complete and all of God’s promises are fulfilled.
- When this happens, we will be permanently united with our bodies and death will be no more.
- These bodies will be our own bodies, though brought to perfection without any disease or damage.
I know for most of you these will be obvious statements. However, I know that many people give into worldly ideas that subtly undermine the faith. I hear people constantly say things like we will become angels in heaven or that they put the ashes of their loved one in the ocean. I know people are in a lot of pain and do not know what the point of life really is and that is why they turn to self-harm and drugs. To all of this, the Church asks us to look again to the resurrection of Our Lord.
When Our Lord rose from the dead, He showed that He has power over this world, sin, and death. The disciples beheld this reality and that is why they could witness to the world without any fear of death. Secular power was no longer a threat to them because they had the Lord on their side. Today is no different. We have Jesus Christ present with us whenever we gather in His name and most especially in the Holy Eucharist. By our baptism, He gives us the grace we need to witness to the ends of the world and we have no fear of death.
Rejoice in the Lord! He is risen indeed!