“I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body”
by Rev. Thomas Carzon
We have a difficult relationship with our bodies today. At other times, radical materialism was prevalent, which denied the reality of the soul. But today it is fashionable to be “spiritual”, but we don’t know what to do with our bodies.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which we celebrate this week puts this problem of body and soul right before our eyes. But it also gives a clear and consoling answer to the problem.
Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, without losing her virginal integrity in body and spirit. And at the end of her earthly life, Mary was brought to share body and soul in the glory of her risen Son. What we believe and celebrate about Mary is a sign and foretaste of what awaits every one of us. Each of us is destined to share body and soul in the glorious life of the resurrection.
Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians that if Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, we are the most miserable of people (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). And when he preached in Athens, the crowd listened attentively until he spoke about the resurrection of the body. They considered the body to be a prison, and death was our escape. So, the thought that we would get a body back after death made no sense at all to them (Acts 17:32).
But we are made body and soul in the image and likeness of God. Our body is not just something we have – a blank canvas where we express ourselves. Our body – male or female, young or old, strong or fragile – united to our soul is who we are, bearing the image of God.
When we suffer in the body, we may well want to escape it, as the Athenians did. But even more deeply, we dream of being fit and healthy, strong and beautiful. Cosmetics and fitness are two of the biggest industries in our age. We desire a body that will not suffer, grow frail or experience sickness. We desire a body that manifests outwardly the inner beauty, strength and dignity of our soul and spirit and heart. The resurrection of the body corresponds perfectly to that desire. It is God’s response to our desire for perfection, for the image and likeness of God to shine forth in our whole being, soul and body.
This year, since the Assumption falls on a Monday, it is not a day of obligation. However, we still celebrate this great feast day of Mary, this feast of our hope in Jesus Christ. In addition to the 8:30 Mass, we will have a 7:00 p.m. Mass on Monday for the feast of the Assumption. No obligation – just an opportunity to celebrate our hope fulfilled!
Our Lady’s Birthday
Do you remember your mother’s birthday? I have not lived near my mother for several years, and a birthday visit isn’t possible, but I always call! Special days are always special, even if the circumstances are different. This week, we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our blessed Mother is so special that we celebrate her “birthday” three times a year: her Immaculate Conception (December 8), Nativity (September 8), and entrance into heaven (August 15). This day reminds us that God is good, and that he gives wonderful gifts, especially to the Mother of his Son. It also reminds us to think of heaven and look forward to the resurrection of the body that Mary already shares with Jesus.
The bishops of the United States *dispense* from the obligation to assist at Mass on most holy days that fall on a Saturday or Monday. Thus, the Assumption does not have an obligation this year, and San Pedro will not have the full Mass schedule for a holy day. However, in order to accommodate those who desire to come to Mass and are not otherwise able, a special Mass will be offered on Monday at 7 PM in the San Pedro chapel.