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Chapter 8. The Saving Death and Resurrection of Christ • 97

Christ’s ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ human-

ity into God’s heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf.

Acts 1:11). . . . Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes

us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members

of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him

for ever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven

once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator

who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

(CCC, nos. 665-667)


When the women reported the Resurrection to the Apostles, “their story

seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them” (Lk 24:11). The

Apostles thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus first appeared to

them. Thomas refused to believe unless he could touch the nail marks.

Within a few decades, there arose heretics who denied the Resurrec­

tion because they did not think Jesus had a body at all. Greeks believed

in the immortality only of the soul. Bodies did not endure beyond death.

Resurrection was impossible. Nonetheless, the Apostles and other wit-

nesses who came to faith in the Resurrection preached its reality and

centrality to faith. Unless it happened, there would be no Church and

no Eucharist. Early Christian believers died by the thousands for their

faith in the Risen Christ and his salvation.

In our present culture, there are some who present new denials of the

Resurrection. They distort the language of the New Testament to sup-

port their disbelief. Arbitrarily they “reinterpret away” what the authors

of the text said and meant. In their view, the Resurrection “appearances”

were either warm memories of Jesus, projections of their inner needs, or

inward spiritual experiences—not real appearances, despite the concrete

descriptions in the New Testament documents. Such skeptics seem to

mean, “It was impossible, so it did not happen.”

The Resurrection makes credible everything Jesus did and taught. It

discloses how Jesus accomplished God’s eternal plan for our salvation.

Through it we taste heavenly gifts and the glory of the age to come. The