The Resurrection and Life Everlasting
This is step 14: The Resurrection and Life Everlasting. I hope you were able to learn about the communion of saints and the forgiveness of sins in our previous chapter. Recall that in that lesson we talked about what the communion of saints means and what that entails. Basically, the communion of saints is the belief that we here on earth, who are the followers of Jesus, are connected with the saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory.
We also learned in our last lesson that the priests of the Catholic Church were given the power, two thousand years ago, to forgive our sins. This was done when Jesus told his apostles, “whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” That authority and power has been passed down from the apostles to the priests and continues to be passed down through the priesthood today.
In today's lesson, we will wrap up the section on the Apostles Creed. The final section of the Apostles Creed states: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The Resurrection of Jesus is when Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. We celebrate this event each time that we celebrate Mass. This is the reason that we are followers of Jesus Christ.
Jesus proved to those on earth that he certainly was God. When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, this really and truly did prove that he was God. No mere man could ever raise themselves from the dead.
The resurrection of the body, as we read about in the Apostles Creed, is when all bodies are resurrected to join their souls in heaven at the end of the world.
Here are a few questions for you to think about while we go through this lesson:
Is death the end of all life for us?
What is our Lord doing for us in heaven?
What must we do while we are here on Earth?
When will Jesus come again?
Why must we always be prepared for death?
Let's start off by reading a section from the Holy Bible. This is from Hebrews chapter 13 verses 20 and 21.
“May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever [and ever]. Amen.”
I hope that you know that heaven is really and truly our home. This is where we are really meant to be. Our blessed Lord Jesus certainly loves us very much. He loves you, he loves me, and he loves everybody very much. He went to heaven to prepare it for us one day. Jesus told his disciples the night before he died, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and I will take you to myself, that is where I am, there you also may be, and where I go you know, and the way you know.” You can find that in the Gospel of John, chapter 14: 2-4.
When he told the apostles that, they were a little puzzled. The Apostle Thomas was really not sure what Jesus meant when he said that they would know the way. Jesus did his best to clear it up by saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” By telling Thomas and the apostles this, it was clear that in order for anyone to make it into the Kingdom of Heaven they must follow Jesus.
Just as Jesus had to die in order to enter his Father's Kingdom, we too must die one day. If we die in a state of grace, without any mortal sin on our soul, without any selfishness, and with pure love in our hearts, then we will be able to join Jesus and the Father and all the saints in heaven. If we die without mortal sin on our soul but we are still not perfect, then we'll go to a place that we call purgatory. This is where our souls will be washed perfectly clean like the cleanest towel or the cleanest sheet that you can possibly ever imagine. You can think of purgatory in this way: Let's say you're going to give a car to your best friend. You wouldn't give it to them all dirty and dusty and sticky now would you? You would probably take it to a car wash and then take it home. You would give it the best detailing job and vacuuming that you possibly could. You would run that vacuum so hard on the carpet that if that car had feelings it would say, “ouch, stop vacuuming me so hard, that hurts!” That's the same thing that happens when we are in purgatory. It may hurt a little bit, but our soul will be perfectly clean so that when we enter the beauty of heaven we will be perfectly clean and pure.
You know, it is only our soul that joins the souls of the saints in heaven. There will be a final resurrection one day. This will be at the end of the entire world, at the end of time. At that time all the souls who are in heaven will be connected back with their most perfect body. After the final resurrection, the body that you have in heaven will have no illness, no sickness, no injuries, and no pain or suffering. Nothing will affect your perfect body and soul ever again.
Right now, at this point, there only two bodies in heaven. Do you know who they are? You may remember from earlier lessons that Jesus and our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, are the only two bodies who are in heaven right now joined with their soul. Remember that when Mary went to heaven we call this the Assumption. The Assumption of Mary is when Mary’s body and soul were both taken into heaven. Right now only the souls, of the people who have died in a state of grace, are in heaven.
When we die, but before the end of the world’s final judgment, we will all receive a personal or particular judgment. Our judgment will be given to us by Jesus himself. We will be told that we are going to heaven immediately or that we have to go to purgatory for a while, or that we must spend eternity in hell. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to go to hell when I die.
People here on earth just really don't know when their time to die will be. Only God knows the day and time when we will die. I believe it is a great idea that we always remain ready for that day just in case today is the day that Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. If today, next year, 10 years from now, 30 years from now, or 50 years from now is the day we die, we should always remain in the state of grace so that when Jesus sees us in front of him after we die, he will be able to easily say “Well done my faithful son (or daughter).” If we are always ready and always in a state of grace without mortal sin then are assured that we will go to heaven. Again, we may have to spend some time in purgatory to cleanse our soul so it will be perfectly clean and perfectly pure, but we do know that we will make it into heaven. If we die loving Jesus, following Jesus and staying free of mortal sin in our life, we will make it to heaven. Being in the state of grace means to follow and obey what the Church teaches. Remember if we are following with the Church teaches we are also following what Jesus teaches. If we disobey what the Church teaches then we are disobeying Jesus. If we disobey Jesus, then this will likely not be a good sign for us on the day that we die. I don't know about you but I want to be ready at all times. I want to very much stay in a state of grace and not to have any mortal sin in my life.
Remember, if by some chance you do slip up and you do commit a mortal sin, then please go to confession as soon as possible to see a priest and have your sins forgiven. This is one of our great sacraments of the Catholic Church, to have our sins forgiven by God through the priest.
Let's read a little bit more from the Bible. This is from The Book of Revelation chapter 21: 3-4. It is about the happiness of Heaven.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”
Here is our last reading for this lesson. This will show us the way that we must die to send in order to rise with Christ. It is from Romans chapter 6: 3-11.
“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”
Do you have any questions for me?
Student: Will the world last forever? No. As much as we would like to have it last forever, the world will end one day. Jesus will come to earth in the same way that he left earth. He left earth when he was taken into heaven in a glorious event. It was such a bright and glorious event. He will come again at the end of time just like that so that he may judge everyone’s soul to see if their body will be joining their soul in heaven.
Student: Is death the end for us?
No, it will not be the end for us. It will be the end of us here on earth, but at the end of time at the end of the world, our bodies will be resurrected and brought to heaven to join our souls that are in heaven to live for the rest of eternity. In order for that to happen though, we need to be in a state of grace when we die.
Student: Is our life a preparation for heaven?
Yes, most definitely so. Everything that we do on earth is preparing us for heaven. We are following Jesus. We are living his way. We are following his way because he told us that he is the way, the truth, and the life. If we follow him we will make it to heaven. Through the grace of God, we are given faith to believe in God, to follow God, and to do good things in the name of love for other people.
Student: Will Jesus come again on the last day?
Yes, he will. As I told you a couple of questions ago, he will come again to judge the living and the dead. He will come again on the last day in full glory and majesty.
Student: Will Jesus Take everyone to heaven?
Unfortunately not. Only those who he judges who are ready and who have lived a good and faithful life.
Student: What is it called when Mary's body was taken into heaven?
That is called the Assumption of Mary. This is when Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. She was just taken into heaven at the end of her earthly life.
Student: On the last day of the world, what of ours will rise again?
Just like when Jesus rose again from the dead, on the last day of the world, our bodies will also rise and join our souls in heaven.
Student: What do you call the judgment that will be at the end of the entire world?
This judgment will be called the Final Judgment. At the Final Judgment, all those souls who are in heaven will have their bodies join their souls. All those who are going to stay in hell forever because they rejected God throughout their life will stay in hell forever. This will also be the time when there will no longer be any evil remaining anywhere except hell.
Student: What do you call the judgment right after we die? That judgment is called personal or particular judgment. We will see Jesus face to face right after we die. He will again tell us, “Well done my faithful son (or daughter), come into heaven.” Or he'll say that you need to spend a little time in purgatory in order to be purified and to be perfectly clean. Unfortunately, the bad news is you might have to go to hell. You don't want that because hell is certainly not a place that you will want to spend eternity. There is good news though, you can do something about that right now.
This will wrap up the first section of the Catechism which is about the Apostles Creed. Remember the Apostles Creed is what tells us what we believe as Catholic Christians. These beliefs have been passed down throughout the 2,000 years of the Catholic Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
Our next lesson, which will be step 15, we will start talking about the Commandments of God. I'm sure you've heard of The Ten Commandments before. Over the next several lessons we will talk about what the Ten Commandments are and what that means for your life and in your life.
I want you to know that you were made to be holy. You were made to be a saint. You were made to be great here on earth. So whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability, and do it for the glory of God.