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Chapter 8. The Saving Death and Resurrection of Christ • 95

vinced, nor were they caught up in some kind of mystical self-delusion or

hysteria. Some of them even died as martyrs rather than deny what they

had witnessed. In this light, their testimony that the Resurrection was a

historical event is more convincing (cf. CCC, nos. 643-644).


The reality of Christ’s Resurrection is also something beyond the realm

of history. No one saw the actual Resurrection. No evangelist describes

it. No one can tell us how it physically happened. No one perceived how

the earthly body of Christ passed over into a glorified form. Despite the

fact that the risen Jesus could be seen, touched, heard, and dined with,

the Resurrection remains a mystery of faith that transcends history.

Its transcendent quality can also be inferred from the state of Christ’s

risen body. He was not a ghost; Jesus invited them to touch him. He

asked for a piece of fish to show them that he could eat. He spent time

with them, often repeating teachings from the days before the Passion

but now in the light of the Resurrection. Nor was it a body like that of

Lazarus, which would die again. His risen body would never die. Christ’s

body was glorified; it is not confined by space or time. He could appear

and disappear before the Apostles’ eyes. Closed doors did not bar his

entry. It is a real body, but glorified, not belonging to earth but to the

Father’s realm. It is a body transformed by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor

15:42-44). The Holy Spirit “gave life to Jesus’ dead humanity and called

it to the glorious state of Lordship” (CCC, no. 648).

What do we learn from Christ’s Resurrection? If Jesus had not risen,

our faith would mean nothing. St. Paul makes this clear in his first Letter

to the Corinthians: “But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead,

how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If

there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised.

And if Christ has not been raised, then empty, too, is our preaching;

empty, too, your faith” (1 Cor 15:12-14). We also learn that, by raising

him from the dead, the Father has placed his seal upon the work accom-

plished by his only begotten Son through his Passion and death. We see

now the fullness of Jesus’ glory as Son of God and Savior.