Fr. George Smiga
November 10, 2013
We believe in resurrection. But resurrection is more than eternal life. Resurrection not only promises that we will live forever but promises that our physical bodies will share in that endless glory. Now, that’s quite a lot to believe. It can strain our ability to believe. How are our physical bodies going to live forever? By the time you reach 50 years old your body begins to falter. By the time you are 70 or 80 it takes all of your effort to keep your body moving. So, how will our physical bodies go on endlessly? The short answer is that God will make them so. We believe that God will transform our physical bodies into a new kind of body that will live on forever.
Resurrection, then, is transformation—a transformation that God will bring about for our benefit. So, when we say that we believe in resurrection, we are saying that we believe in the God of transformation, the God who will make all things new. This is why Jesus, as he argues with the Sadducees about the resurrection in today’s gospel, concludes his argument by talking about God. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. God is the God of the resurrection who will transform our bodies and the world around us to be the perfect reflection of God’s own glory.
Now, this belief in the resurrection leads to two realities:hope and action. When we look at the brokenness of our lives, when we look at all that is wrong with the world, it is easy to lose hope. When we see the people we love caught in the grips of addiction or prisoners to a destructive relationship, when time and time again we try to forgive someone who has hurt us but cannot bring ourselves to do so, when day after day we fall into attitudes of prejudice even though we know that they are wrong, it is easy to become discouraged. When we look at the way that greed and indifference in our society continues to oppress the poor and vulnerable, when we see how ideological differences in government cut short dialogue and the ability to make progress, it is easy for us to throw up our hands and say, “This is the way that it is, and it will never change.”
But we believe in the God of the resurrection. A God who not only is committed to transform our physical bodies but also to transform the world around us. Because we believe that God has power, we believe that the people we love and we ourselves can be transformed. We believe that the destructive structures of our society can be changed and that hearts that are closed to dialogue and cooperation can open. The God of the resurrection is our hope.
But this truth not only gives us hope, it calls us to action. If God is the God of transformation, it is a transformation in which we are called to share. God’s transformation often begins with us. We must be the people who learn how to help rather than enable those who are addicted, thepeople who keep opening our hearts to forgiveness even though we cannot completely embrace it, the people who repent of prejudice every time it overcomes us. When we act in this way, we open the way for God’s transformation to occur.We must be the people that speak out in our society for the poor and the vulnerable even though our voices may not be heard, the people who commit ourselves to listen to those of different political and ideological stances even though we may not completely agree. And every time we act in this way, we open the door wider for the God of resurrection to act.
We believe in resurrection. This means that we believe in a God of transformation. A God who will transform our physical bodies and the world around us. But our God will not act alone. Our God calls us to be participants in resurrection. Our God calls us to be agents of transformation and new life.