He showed them his hands and his feet

In many of the resurrection stories in the Bible, Jesus makes it a point to prove to the apostles that he is not just a ghost.   He walks long distances with them, eats breakfast with them, and invites them to probe his wounds.   Clearly he wanted them to be sure that he had truly risen from the dead.

But there’s another reason why Jesus wanted his apostles—and us—to know he rose bodily.   He wanted to show us how important our own bodies are.   He wanted us to see what we would be like when we rise from the dead at his Second Coming.

This truth of our bodily resurrection is central to our faith.   It’s so essential, in fact, that St. Paul says Christianity would not exist without it.   “If the dead are not raised,” he wrote, “neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17).

You see, the “resurrection of the body” that we profess in the Apostles’ Creed tells us that our bodies, imperfect or ailing though they may be, are precious to God.   When Jesus became man, he healed the sick and fed the hungry as a sign of his care for every part of who we are.   He will raise up everything about us, including our ability to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell all the beauty he has created in this world.

This is also why Jesus gives himself to us physically in the Eucharist and why he sends his people out to take care of each other in hands-on ways.   He wants everyone to know how much he treasures them—all of them.

This is the good news of the gospel:   God cares about every part of your life, including your body.   He loves you so deeply that he promises to restore you to the fullest, most perfect version of yourself when he comes again.   And that includes both your body and your soul.

Let this hope lift up your heart today.   Maybe you could even take a look at yourself in the mirror and say, “This is who I am, and Jesus wants to raise me up. Every part of me!”

Word Among Us

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