Fr. Lara's Lines
Third Sunday of Easter
In this weekend’s gospel, Luke’s narrates the appearance
of Jesus to his disciples. The disciples were startled and
terrified for they thought they were seeing a ghost.
Jesus has been raised from the dead, but Mary did
not recognize him when she saw him outside the tomb.
Has Jesus changed after the resurrection? We can
imagine that, three days earlier when he died on the
cross, Jesus looked completely different. It seems as
though his appearance changed after the resurrection
since the disciples didn’t recognize him at first; it might
have been that the disciples were in disbelief since
they knew he had been dead. Jesus was alive, but he
had a glorified body. In the first reading, from the
Acts of the Apostles, Peter said to the people, “The God
of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.”
What is the glorified body Jesus had after the resurrection?
Thomas Aquinas suggests some properties of a glorified
Impassibility, which means that the body will no longer
suffer physical sickness or death. Suffering and death
are consequences of original sin. Christ didn’t have to
suffer and die but he did so as an expiation for our sins
and now that he has freed us from the power of sin,
he enjoys the glory of the resurrection. There is no
more suffering or death for him. This is why he also
ascended into heaven. Impassibility indicates that the
body will be perfectly subjected to the rational soul
and the soul will be perfectly subjected to God.
Subtlety, which means to have a spiritualized nature.
This can be difficult to understand since nothing like this
exists in the world. We see that Christ’s glorified body
was able to pass through closed doors: Jesus appears
to the disciples when the doors are locked. Subtlety
would be the ability to possess a body with overpowering
Agility, which means that the glorified body will obey
the glorified soul exclusively. The glorified body will
be unified to the glorified soul not only as its form but
also as its mover. The body will have a keen spiritual
sense or a deeper relationship to the glorified soul.
The body will be able to move instantaneously as willed
by the glorified soul. The glorified body will be agile,
such as our Resurrected Lord’s ability to bi-locate and
travel great distances in an instant.
Clarity, which means to be filled with the beauty and
radiance of the glory of God. We can see that in the
transfiguration of Jesus, when his presence was dazzling
white. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that the glorified
body will be raised to the characteristics of heavenly
bodies. The saints are usually depicted with a halo,
which is the grace of God shining through them.
As we hear the stories of Jesus after the resurrection,
we can imagine his glory being shared with us when he
comes again. Our bodies will be glorified; they will be
lightsome (clarity), incapable of suffering (impassible),
without difficulty or labor in movement (agility), and
perfected in their form (subtlety).
Keeping God’s Commandments
The testimony of the apostles assures us of God’s
presence in our lives. We have gotten to know God
through the Church and now we are compelled to keep
his commandments. This Sunday’s second reading, from
the first letter of Saint John, encourages us to keep
God’s commandments. Jesus loved us to the end; this
is the reason we are to follow his example of love by
keeping his word alive in our hearts.
The commandments of God might seem like an
obstruction of our freedom but they are the means
to true freedom itself. God gave us the commandments
out of love for us. They will help us to be closer to God
by doing what is good, virtuous, moral, and decent.
By following God’s commandments, we break free from
the power of sin and are truly free to love God, others,
and ourselves. Just like state laws are to keep us safe
and allow us to create order in society, so divine laws
are to keep us protected from sin and free to love and
do what is good and holy.
Live the Liturgy
When the greeting “Peace be with you”
is sincerely offered to a person, it can
resonate very deep within, bringing comfort and
reassurance. When someone possesses the power
to bring peace, it brings us to a place of safety
and fills us with joy. The resurrected Christ has
this power. God can open our minds so that we
can more fully understand the meaning of
Sacred Scripture and God’s compassionate,
loving, tender, and untiring embrace constantly
present and offered to people throughout history.
Without the anchor of truth that only God can
provide, we can easily become startled and
terrified at the sight of what life brings us.
Being open to God’s offer of peace, we can
turn away from old habits and short-sighted
vision and experience the gladness and joy of
God’s gift. Only then can what is wounded and
broken be mended and reconciliation achieved. We are
the resurrection witnesses called to proclaim the Good News.