The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a vast and underdeveloped piece of real estate for gaining direction in our lives. There is an unfortunate tendency in the Church today to think that the resurrection of one’s body is of little consequence for the way we ought to live. Of course, seeing the world in a predominantly spiritual way is the right thing to do. We think of life on earth and eternal life through the eyes of the Spirit we might say. Unfortunately, however, the complete elimination of the importance of the meaning of the human body from the concept of human salvation is not an authentic Catholic approach. Practically, many of us make the mistake of thinking that it is enough to let Jesus Christ bear the cross on which He battles against evil, while we remain bystanders.
Are we to expect the salvation of our souls without living righteously for Him while here in our mortal bodies? Jesus manifests His wounded, side, hands and feet to the Apostles thus showing them and us that sin has a lasting effect. Doesn’t He mean that we too must bear this fight in our own bodies? On a more positive note, when He eats fish in front of them, isn’t this action reinforcing the fact that the human body, with its affections, is important in the Resurrection, in Eternity? Even if Grandma is experiencing perfect happiness in Heaven, her happiness will increase when she gets her body back. Our bodies have meaning. Everything about the human body has meaning. And the harm done to the human person, both body and soul, is something that must be healed by the power of the grace of Christ. The Great Physician gives us the medicine of salvation, but in and through our bodies we must follow our Divine Doctor's orders: “You must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16:24)
Here is another point to ponder. Isn’t it interesting, as the Acts of the Apostles says, that the Son of Man’s life was exchanged for the life of a murderer? Peter said, “You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.” (Acts 3:14) What an indictment that is! What does a murderer do? He kills the body. So the one who saved the human person through the Resurrection of the body, through restoring life to the body, is put to death instead of one whose true crime was killing the body.
It has been quite clear since the beginning of time that sin destroys the body. This was always Satan’s intent. He hates the human body. Jesus was put to death in the body on account of sin and conquers Satan through this as He rises from the dead. Sin enters into human history as a rejection of God at the same time as its bite injects its deadly poison into the human body. The first sin is disobedience to God born out of distrust for His creation. He created the human person, masculine and feminine, with all their differences and with each of their bodies being gifted for their proper roles on earth.
Adam would have understood immediately the meaning of the wounded side of Christ. We can surely imagine Adam gazing upon the Crucifixion as the lance opened Jesus’ side. The Old Adam would know and understand the importance of this because it is from his side that the first woman came. From the side of Christ, the New Adam, flow the blood and water that give life to the bride of Christ, the Church. He would know that this New Man does not run. He does not shrink from the protection of His bride and He most certainly does not cause her to sin. He helps her avoid sinning, all the time. Even now, we can almost hear the sigh of relief as Adam witnesses, first hand, the undoing of his failure.
So Adam, where are you? Man of today, where are you? Are you an old Adam or a new Adam? Where are you, Adam, when your bride, your Eve, is subject to the threat of losing her soul through disobedience to God? Is she going to suffer anew on your account? Her body is at risk of suffering for all eternity because you would allow her to be used for an immoral purpose. You Christian men, today, do you respect your wives, your beloved, your female friends and acquaintances? Are you like the old Adam or the new Adam, Jesus? Do you distrust her body? Do you seek to distort the feminine beauty of her body by pressure to do things below her human and feminine dignity? Do you distort the truth of love for the female body? Do you women distrust your own bodies? Do you fall prey to the domination that came from the fall so present in our culture? You see, this is the root of the current crisis that the bishops are battling with the President. That is why there is such a moral problem with contraception and sterilization. They are sins against the body. They are sins of distrust of God and his creation of the body. These acts are choices for the life of the original murderer, the ancient serpent, over the life of the Savior whose body is given up to nourish the Church. They are sins against the Resurrection.
The power of the Resurrected Man, Christ, the New Adam, gives us, also, the model of the Church, the mother of those baptized into Christ. When we approach Him at the altar, He gives us His body, consummating His love for His Bride, the Church. Members of the Church must let this Lord lead them to a new respect for the body and human love. Let Him be the model of relations between man and woman. Science supports us in this. There have been many advances in the sciences in recent decades that fully support the way human beings were made, male and female, and are consistent with Christ’s teaching in the Church. This new knowledge will allow you to live in accordance with God’s plan for your life. This will help you faithfully and intelligently plan your family without offending God. Please contact me if you want to learn more.
This is your second chance, Adam. Do not let the serpent bite you again.
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