Christians are called to believe in the logic of the resurrection of the body and not succumb to heresies that reduce it to a mere spiritual experience, Pope Francis said.
When looking toward the future, the uncertainty about what happens
after death often can lead to not understanding Christianity's "logic of
the future," which proclaims that believers will rise again in body and
soul like Jesus did, the Pope said on Friday during a morning Mass in
the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.
"A spiritualistic piety, a nuanced piety is much easier; but to enter
into the logic of the flesh of Christ, this is difficult. And this is
the logic of the day after tomorrow. We will resurrect like the risen
Christ, with our own flesh," he said. In his homily, the pope reflected
on St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, in which the apostle
admonishes some of the early Christian community for saying "there is no
resurrection of the dead."
"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ
been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty, too, is our
preaching; empty, too, your faith," St Paul wrote.
The pope said that, for some, it is difficult to understand and
accept the "logic of the future" regarding what happens after death. The
belief that, like Jesus, Christians will experience the resurrection of
the body "is not easy". "Yesterday's logic is easy, today's logic is
easy. Tomorrow's logic is easy: We will all die. But the logic of the
day after tomorrow, that is difficult," he said.
Some Christians "are afraid of the flesh" and may fall prey to "a
certain type of gnosticism" that reduces the resurrection to a purely
spiritual experience; a belief that was "the first heresy" denounced by
the apostle John, the pope explained.
Believing and having faith that Christ did not rise from the dead "as
a ghost" but rather in flesh and blood is "the logic of the day after
tomorrow that we find hard to understand," he said. While it is a sign
of maturity to see the logic of the resurrection, Christians must also
pray for the grace to understand it, Pope Francis added.
"You also need the great grace of the Holy Spirit to understand this
logic of the day after tomorrow; after the transformation, when he will
come and will carry us transformed above the clouds to be with him
always. Let us ask the Lord for the grace of this faith."