What is the main meaning of Christ’s Resurrection?
“The Resurrection above all comprises the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by His Resurrection has given of His divine power, which he had promised” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 651).
What is meant when the Nicene Creed used at Mass speaks of Christ’s Resurrection in terms of the phrase “in line with the Scriptures“?
“Christ’s Resurrection is the accomplishment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus Himself during His early life (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:7; Luke 24:6-7, 26-27, 44-48). The phrase ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; cf. also the Nicene Creed) shows that Christ’s Resurrection accomplished these predictions” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 652).
How is Christ’s Resurrection related to His Divinity?
“The truth of Christ’s divinity is confirmed by His Resurrection. He had said: ‘When you lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He’ (John 8:28). The Resurrection of the Crucified One shows that he was truly ‘I Am,’ the Son of God and God Himself. So St. Paul could proclaim to the Jews: ‘What God promised to the fathers, this He has accomplished to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten You’ (Acts of the Apostles 13:32-34; Psalm 2:7)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 653). How is the Resurrection of Christ related to the Incarnation?
The Resurrection and Incarnation are connected to each other because in order to “raise up” our fallen human nature in the Resurrection, the Son of God had to become “Man.” Therefore, the Resurrection is the accomplishment or the reason why God became Man. The Incarnation is defined as “the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature and became man in order to fulfill our salvation in that same human nature” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary, p. 883). “Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son and is its accomplishment in accordance with God’s eternal plan” (Catechism, 653).
What are the two aspects of the “Paschal Ministry”?
“The Paschal Mystery has two aspects: by His Death, Christ frees us from sin; by His Resurrection, He opens for us the way to a new life” (Catechism, 654).
Paschal Mystery mean’s “Christ’s work of redemption accomplished principally by His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and glorious Ascension, whereby “dying he conquered our death, rising He restored our life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary, p. 891; Cf. also: 654, 1067). The Introduction to Palm Sunday explains the Paschal Mystery in these simple terms: “Today we gather together to herald…Our Lord’s Paschal Mystery, that is to say, of His Passion and Resurrection” (Roman Missal, 3rd Edition: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, no. 5).
Passion comes from the Latin word passio (to suffer) and means “the suffering and death of Jesus” (Glossary, p. 892; 572, 602-616).
The “new life” opened to us by Jesus’ Resurrection comprises these aspects of our redemption:
This new life is above all a justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4; cf. also Romans 4:25). Justification means “the gracious action of God which frees us from sin and communicates (i.e. gives to us) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; Catechism, Glossary, p. 885). Justification involves the remission of sins, and the purification (i.e. being made “holy” by God) and renewal of the interior human person (Catechism, 1987-1989). Remission of sins means “the forgiveness of sins, which fulfilled in us through faith and Baptism” (Catechism, Glossary, p. 896). Faith and Baptism come as a result of the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
Purification means “to make holy.” Purification is the healing of our human nature that was wounded or destroyed first by Original Sin, and then by the actual sins we commit (i.e. our Mortal and Venial Sins). We are purified or healed in our nature by God’s Grace – which gives us a share in the involvement in the actual life of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If we “share” or involve in the life of a God Who is All-holy and Immortal, that sharing in God’s life makes us holy and immortal. Purifying Grace is the grace that gives us a share in God’s life. Adam and Eve lost this participation in God’s life when they committed Original Sin. We gain God’s life back through Purifying Grace given in Baptism.
Justification comprises in both victory over death caused by sin and a new participation in grace” (Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3).
It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus Himself called His disciples after His Resurrection: “Go and tell My brethren”(Matthew 28:10; John 2017). Filial adoption is the name given to the process in which God “adopts” us, or makes of us His sons and daughters: “He is destined us in love to be His sons” and “to be conformed in the Image of His Son” through “the Spirit of sonship” (Ephesians 1:4-5, 9; Romans 8:15, 29; Catechism 257).
What is the nature of our sonship in Christ?
“We are the brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace because that adoptive iliation obtains for us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was completely revealed in His Resurrection” (Catechism, 654).
“Not by nature”: by this phrase, the Catechism is making it obvious that those who “share in God’s” life do not “become God” in the sense that our nature is somehow transformed into God’s Nature. We always will be human; but God will permit us to share in His Life, Immortality, etc.
A real share in God’s life means that we really and actually share in God’s life as His adoptive children. The excellent way of picturing this is the analogy of a piece of metal placed in a fire: while always staying a piece of metal, by growing hot, glowing, and being able to burn what it touches, the metal “takes on” the properties or characteristics of the fire or flame – without becoming the fire itself. So it is with us who share in God’s life.
What will cause our resurrection from the dead?
“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 remain alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Catechism, 655).
“The principle and source”: this phrase means that Jesus Himself and His Resurrection will be the CAUSE of our rising.
When does this “new life” in Christ, leading to our resurrection, begin?
It starts with Baptism. We are already participating or partaking in God’s life – but this life will only come to completion when we are raised from the dead. And yet, even now “the risen Christ lives in the hearts of His faithful while they await that accomplishment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted…the authorities of the age to come”(Hebrews 6:5) 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” (2 Corinthians 5:15; Cf. Colossians 3:1-3; Catechism, 655).
Will only Christians be saved by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ? God wishes that we all be saved – even those “outside” the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the presupposition for those “outside” the Catholic Church to be saved. This means that if someone knows and comprehends that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ, then they are obliged to embrace the Faith: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). This means that Christ made the Catholic Church an essential means of salvation, so that a person must be connected with the Church in some way to be saved (Cf. The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, no. 2, Question 167, p. 80).