Year C: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: based on St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians Ch. 15: 12, 16-20
The resurrection of Jesus was one of the central tenets of the faith preached by the apostles. For many Greeks and other Gentiles this in itself was hard enough to believe - and the fact of the resurrection of all the dead all but impossible.
In today’s reading, St Paul highlights the consequences of what not believing in resurrection are - quite simply that, if it is not true then we are the most unfortunate of people.
The problem of what happens to us when we die is one that we share with people from the earliest of times. From the dawn of civilisation, we have evidence of burial rituals that speak of a belief in some kind of after-life. Obviously, with the passage of time we have lost touch with the meaning of some of these - but quite consistent is the provision of food, money and artefacts that the person would need on the “journey”. They, however, saw it as a journey which had no return.
Christ’s resurrection changed all that. He did return in a new imperishable body - and promised that this path was now open to all who believed in him.
Today’s extract and those we will read over the next two weeks are taken from a much longer exploration of what we mean by resurrection. It is well worth-while taking time to read the whole of Chapter 15 and reflecting on the arguments St Paul lays before his readers.
Contemporary society is ambiguous about death. Many people prefer not to think about it at all. Others see death as oblivion - still others as part of a cycle of reincarnation.
As Christians we believe that we die only once - and that death is our gateway to eternal life. We live in the promise of Christ that he will return and replace our own mortal bodies with spiritual bodies like his own.
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