‘To see the resurrection as no more than a spiritual experience is to abandon the biblical understanding and to pronounce a decree absolute between spirit and matter. Such an attitude conflicts both with the biblical teaching and, being based on an outdated positivism, with the modern scientific understanding of man as a psychosomatic unity.
St Paul says, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain”. The resurrection is at the heart of the apostolic preaching, and our faith in the gospel which it proclaims calls us not to examine it in the light of the idea of this or any subsequent century but to allow it to judge us that we may see creation and ourselves in the light of God’s revelation.
In a sense, we experience two lives between our baptism and our death, two lives, the one in Christ, the other in Adam. We experience both bodily in terms of our existence as human beings, not one spiritual or mental and the other physical. The one is given by physical birth - that in Adam. The other is given by sacramental birth - that in Christ. The one fulfils and transcends the other. In our physical death we experience the natural end of our life in Adam, but our sacramental life in Christ continues. Our physical body is returned to the created universe from which it came and of which it has always been part. But it returns to a created universe which has been redeemed in Christ in his resurrection, of which by virtue of our sacramental life we shall partake.
The challenge of the resurrection is not new. Men and women have, throughout the ages, found it difficult and too demanding to live truly as human beings, and have been tempted to lapse into either an angelism which sees the spiritual as an escape from the material or into a materialism which in the long run has no better message than “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. The resurrection of Christ calls us to accept the challenge so to live that we may be fulfilled in the whole of our human nature in and for God’.
Mgr Graham Leonard, 1921-2010
Fr Lee Kenyon