Reflection & Dialogue: The Resurrection of the Dead and Life Everlasting

The Nicene Creed ends with the words: We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. As this liturgical year draws to a close we, clergy and laity, could profitably reflect on these truths. There is no need here to dwell on the first of these, which has been commented on in today’s readings.

            With regard to eternal life, one is often asked as to what we really know about it, going on credible sources and leaving imagination aside. We have the words of St Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9): “As it is written: What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”. We can recall that it will not be as human life is here on earth, but as Jesus said to the Sadducees, comparable to that of the angels. We know, however, that in the Church we pray to the elect in heaven, that they hear our prayers, and intercede for the living on earth. They thus are aware of events on earth, a truth we profess in belief in the communion of saints. One could expand on this, but this is not necessary here.

            Another truth worth recalling at this time is that our belief in eternal life does not affect our concern for human affairs, and the betterment of our society and way of life. In fact it should add to it. Since we look forward to new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home (2 Peter 3:13) we should aim to have our present world already conform to this as  much as possible.

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