Why do Catholics believe in the resurrection of their bodies? Aside from it being as true as the day is long, so it’s a simple thing to believe in, there is scriptural, natural, and traditional evidence. This week, we explore resurrection – ours, not Jesus’ – and Purgatory. This is sort of a hint or taste of things to come this month as we delve into Purgatory as the whole month of November is dedicated by The Church to focusing on prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Without Purgatory, there would be a LOT of empty rooms in Our Father’s mansion! So, start this month’s reflection with this TWMWU that is a lot shorter than the last couple of weeks and opens the door to a better understanding of what we know about and mean by eternal life!
Catechesis At Home – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
We Believe In The Resurrection
Mass Readings are presented verbatim from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) web site in good faith accordance with its “Web and Other Digital Media Usage” guidelines. All Rights are reserved to the USCCB.
[will open a new tab or window].
We Believe in the Resurrection
REFLECTION – We Believe in the Resurrection of the Dead
As Catholics, we believe in the resurrection of the dead. We profess this belief at every Sunday Mass when we proclaim the creed. The final line is:
“I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.”
As Catholics we believe Jesus when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:24)
The readings today bring us face to face with this Truth of resurrection. Daniel’s prophetic vision and Jesus’ preaching depicts for us the “end times” that will be great trial and tribulation. But, those of us blessed to be “written in the book” will be spared the final trial – eternal suffering. Earlier this month we warmed-up for All Saints’ Day – how we become one of that number in heaven who live eternally to glorify God; who stand at the foot of that great High Altar, worshipping God forever. This week, as we wind down the end of our Liturgical Year, we look to the End and our place in it.
We are destined for Resurrection – Jesus explains that we do not know when it will come, but it WILL come. Let us be ready!
DISCUSSION – We Believe in Resurrection and Therefore Purgatory
The whole month of November is given over to focus on prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. As we discuss Heaven and how we believe in resurrection, we also need to discuss Purgatory. The Church tells us by the traditional interpretation of Scripture since the earliest days of the Church that Purgatory is the place of purification for souls of those who died not in total perfection and grace. (CCC, 1031) Purgatory is a blessed place for God to finally rid us (purge us) of the last vestiges of our sinful nature, to wash us completely clean again as at Baptism. This is because nothing less than perfect can exist in or even enter into His Presence in Heaven. If there was no final purgation (purification) then we would be hopelessly left out of that Beatific Vision. Jesus promises Heaven – many rooms that God, the Father, has prepared for us! Purgatory is a necessary component of resurrection and our belief in resurrection.
The Holy Souls in Purgatory are also known as the Church Suffering. They are members of the Body of Christ, the Church. We on earth are the Church Militant, as we fight evil every day and the saints in Heaven are the Church Triumphant, since they have defeated the Evil One with the help of God’s grace. All three make up the Mystical Body of Christ.
Purgatory is a beautiful gift. It is our Merciful God’s final gift to us as frail and feeble humans. His angels fight for the salvation of our souls every moment we are on earth. And in the final moment of our death, we are given a choice – God or Hell. If we choose God, then our soul either goes straight to Heaven (if we are perfectly sinless and have completed any penance we need to do) or our soul goes to Purgatory for the final purification. Souls in Purgatory WILL go to heaven. We do not know exactly how long or even what the purification exactly is. It doesn’t matter, though. Purgatory is temporary. Souls in Purgatory are GUARANTEED eternal life in Heaven once they have completed whatever purification God deems necessary. So, let us rejoice and be glad – for theirs is the Kingdom of God!
Part of the Kingdom is the perfected earth where we will be reunited with our glorified bodies. This is what we mean when we believe in the resurrection: We will be on earth again, where what God first gave to Adam and Eve will once again exist, for all who have been resurrected. The Lamb and the Lion will rest with each other, as there will be no need for violence or any sin – we will be the perfected human beings in the perfected world. (See Job 5:23; Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 65:25; Ezekiel 34:25; Hosea 2:18)
ACTIVITY – We Believe in the Resurrection of Our Beloved Dead – Pray For Them
There is a beautiful, yet simple and short prayer we can pray for those who have died:
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Not only should we pray for those whom we know who have died, but all people who have died. There are many in this world who do not believe in the resurrection, eternal life, or in Purgatory. Their families and friends may not know that it is a blessed thing to pray for their souls. It is our duty to pray for them. Those in Purgatory can also pray for us. We ask for their intercession just as we intercede for them.
This week and for the rest of the month of November, make an earnest effort as a family to pray for all the souls of those who have died. Of course, we want to pray for our family members and friends, let’s also lift up the souls of those who have no one to pray for them, the unknown, the destitute. The prayer above is a great prayer to add to the end of grace at dinner, or during family prayer at night! And it gives us an opportunity to talk with each other about our belief in the resurrection and Purgatory.
Prayer for the Living and the Dead is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, and it is a special way to love our neighbor as ourselves.
LEARN MORE – Other We Believe In The Resurrection resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
Links open in a new tab or window according to your settings so that you can compare and continue in this lesson’s theme.
Page: Christian Living Resources
Page: Prayer Basics
Page: Resurrection Easter Resources
Video: What do Catholics Believe About Creation?
Podcast: Hope – Episode 1
Podcast: Why Does the Catholic Church Not Believe In Cremation? – Episode 66
TWMWU: This Is the Day the Lord Has Made
TWMWU: Are You Prepared?
TWMWU: All Things Are Possible For God
TWMWU: Faith, Works, Light, Darkness, and Eternal Life
Article: It Is Enough
Does it make sense to you that we believe in the resurrection?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
What do we do about Family interactions during the holidays?
In perhaps our most fun episode to date in terms of just rolling with it, Beth tries to make a point while Kristofer goes off into la la land.
Music, movie, cartoon, disco, philosophy, sitcoms and saint references seem to come easily when one person comes from a solid family of origin and another comes from the family that put fun into dysfunctional.
But, seriously, this is good stuff with some actual pointers. And even Larry gets into it…
LOTS of show notes with timestamps here, too.