The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

Third Sunday of Easter

Glorified Body
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 body.

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 spiritual dimensions.

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.

Fr. Lara

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.