I was reading online the other day about what is known as young-Earth creationists. The term was new to me and after some research, I learned it is basically a belief that the biblical account of creation is more accurate. I do not hold that belief but I know that some do. In a sense, it does not surprise me because you may or may not know Copernicus’ teaching that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around took about two hundred years for the human race to fully accept.
Therefore, the idea that some people do not embrace the scientific understanding of biological evolution should not surprise us. We as Catholics are open to the teaching of evolution however we do not believe in random evolution. Further, some will say that there were early human couples on different continents. That is not accepted by science and that would be a bigger miracle than there were only one.
I bring up these two earth-shattering discoveries to illustrate that although no one argues today that the Sun revolves around the Earth, it was an idea that took centuries to fully accept. We are not centuries from Darwin publishing his Origin of the Species so that some people embrace the Biblical understanding of creation over the scientific should not surprise us. For the record Pope Benedict XVI preached at the Easter Vigil in 2011 that the Church has never considered the Genesis account about the external processes by which the cosmos and man himself came into being, he explained it is a prophecy and therefore much deeper than this.
There is a reason why I brought this up. The fact that Jesus resurrected from the dead is a far more profound message than any of the discoveries we have made in science that completely altered our understanding of the world around us. It should not surprise us that even today people cannot comprehend the resurrection. The reason is not just because Jesus resurrected but his resurrection was a deeper understanding of whom we truly are as human beings.
If you read the Bible accounts both eyewitness and afterward, you will learn that the excitement is that this changes our whole understanding of who we are.
This is the point. The resurrection changes our self -understanding as a human race from finite beings that live for this day to a deeper understanding of who we truly are within the context of the cosmos. It changes us to realize there is something far beyond what we can see and this something also deepens our understanding of who we are.
The more we explore what the resurrection means with others who share our understanding, these are the saints over the centuries, we realize that our values change because our perspective changes. We develop a hope that goes beyond what we can know and discover truths beyond what we can figure out on our own.
This is the point of the resurrection that there is more to life than we can see and understand on our own and that Jesus opens the door to the pursuit of that truth through his resurrection.
If you read the saints you will discover that they had a tremendous love and relationship with the living God whom they knew in prayer. This relationship change everything about how they lived their lives. There are powerful stories of saints whose whole values changed once they embrace the truth of Christ throughout the centuries.
Cardinal O’Malley in his Chrism Mass homily illustrated the model for his order which is St. Francis. The beloved Francis Berdone had an encounter with Christ that completely changed his whole life he began to see his values change to one that realized what this world offered was nothing compared to what Christ offered us in eternal life.
This was such a radical change of values Cardinal O’Malley reminded us that it caused unfortunately a permanent rift with his father.
Other saints also had personal encounters with the Risen Christ and this changed their whole lives radically.
St. Teresa of Avila, whom I am reading now, described her time with the Lord as being with His Majesty. This changed her whole way of being and described how prayer is essential in the lives of all Christians for it is through prayer that we encounter the risen Lord.
Many will tell you that Jesus never resurrected from the dead, it is a figurative explanation of why we still listen to his teachings. That is totally incorrect and St. Paul says the same thing. If Jesus did not resurrect we are wasting our time. The fact is that the whole point of Catholicism is that we have this life-changing encounter with Christ who is risen and shows us a whole new way of being. This is what we recognize today and this is what we believe. Jesus is Risen and Therefore our whole understanding of our reality changed when he rose. We are still seeking to comprehend its significance because its true significance is far more profound than we can simply understand.
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