Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (20) – The Hope of our Resurrection

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Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion. Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm. For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.

646 Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ’s Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus’ Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is “the man of heaven”

655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come” and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

A key – if not THE key – element in the prophecies in the Bible pertaining to the final return of Christ is the implication on how that will change each of us. Even if we die before the return of Jesus to Earth, that moment in time still impacts a real change to us, for it is then that we receive our own Glorious bodies similar to that of Christ’s. A body not limited to time and space. We will essentially share in Christ’s divinity, though not by our own nature but through the adoptive gift of grace.

We are told above that Christians have tasted the powers of the age to come. Only someone who has truly felt the joy of God’s presence truly understands what heaven may “taste” like. To be in a constant state of peace, love, joy, etc. is heaven itself. We too often attach physical pleasures and the things of this world with what we think heaven may be like. I do believe that there is an element of that, but those are not the things that truly make heaven what it is. Heaven is heaven because of our absolute unwavering connection to and love of God in a much more real and closer sense than most of us ever experience in this life. And to the extent that we do experience it, it is often difficult to sustain. But that joy will be ever-persistent. As for all the worldly pleasures, I do believe all our talents and the joys of creation are also a foretaste of heaven as well. I’ve often thought that if we are given a talent (such as music) and we have worked to hone that skill on earth, it is a preparation of some sort for that talent being used in the after-life. Pure speculation on my part, but I have to believe that our work here is not entirely for naught, whatever that work and our interests and talents are. They are only for naught if, in the end, we have not accepted the gift of salvation. Then all is loss. How sad is that?

So, the prophetic reference here is to the resurrection – the last of things before eternity. It is good to keep this happy moment in mind as the ultimate prophetic expectation of the Christian when going through the trials and tribulations of life, and reading of the trials and tribulations to come.

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