“The Historical and Transcendent Event”

“Christ is risen from the dead! Dying, he conquered death; To the dead, he has given life.”                                                        – Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Eater

What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church state about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

CCC 639 – The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56, St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…” Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.” 

CCC 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.”

CCC 647 – O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead! But no one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history. This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, “to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.”

CCC 652 –  Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures”  indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

For more on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, please see paragraphs 638-658. Remember that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the tool of the New Evangelization (Scott Hahn). It must be read, studied, and passed on to others. If you don’t have a copy of it in  your home, you need to order one as soon as possible. Pope Francis is going to bring the New Evangelization to the Church like no other has before him.

On Good Friday, Fr. John Lankeit, Rector at Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona said that Blessed John Paul II opened up the doors to the New Evangelization, Pope Emeritus Benedict explained the New Evangelization to our minds, and now Pope Francis is going to bring the New Evangelization to our hearts. Heart and Mind or philosophically, Faith and Reason. As Catholics, we know our Faith through both of these avenues. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these two avenues (or wings – Bl. John Paul II), intersect and synthesize with each other. Let us all come to know our faith with both heart and mind. The saints before us have done the same. It is now our time to do this and proclaim it to the world.




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