Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 15, 35-58

Someone may ask: How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come?

How foolish! What you sow must die before it is given new life;

and what you sow is not the body that is to be, but only a bare grain, of wheat I dare say, or some other kind;

it is God who gives it the sort of body that he has chosen for it, and for each kind of seed its own kind of body.

Not all flesh is the same flesh: there is human flesh; animals have another kind of flesh, birds another and fish yet another.

Then there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; the heavenly have a splendour of their own, and the earthly a different splendour.

The sun has its own splendour, the moon another splendour, and the stars yet another splendour; and the stars differ among themselves in splendour.

It is the same too with the resurrection of the dead: what is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable;

what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful;

what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is a spiritual body too.

So the first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; and the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.

But first came the natural body, not the spiritual one; that came only afterwards.

The first man, being made of earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven.

The earthly man is the pattern for earthly people, the heavenly man for heavenly ones.

And as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly one.

What I am saying, brothers, is that mere human nature cannot inherit the kingdom of God: what is perishable cannot inherit what is imperishable.

Now I am going to tell you a mystery: we are not all going to fall asleep,

but we are all going to be changed, instantly, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds. The trumpet is going to sound, and then the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed,

because this perishable nature of ours must put on imperishability, this mortal nature must put on immortality.

And after this perishable nature has put on imperishability and this mortal nature has put on immortality, then will the words of scripture come true: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin comes from the Law.

Thank God, then, for giving us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, my dear brothers, keep firm and immovable, always abounding in energy for the Lord's work, being sure that in the Lord none of your labours is wasted.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In order to answer a question about how the resurrection of the body takes place, the apostle uses the example of the seed (the earthly body), which, once it has died, becomes a plant (the risen body). He uses this image to affirm that on the day of the resurrection, we will be the same and yet different: we will have our “flesh,” but we will be clothed in incorruptibility. We could say that the resurrection is the end of a process that lasts our entire life. No one can imagine what a risen body is like. But we have some idea of it from the Gospel stories that narrate the days Jesus spent with the disciples after Easter. The Gospels present the same Jesus who had suffered death on the cross – he still bears the mark of the nails – and yet he is different: the two disciples of Emmaus did not recognize him, nor did Mary and the other disciples. Recognizing the risen Jesus is marked only by faith. It is to say that we can only recognize a spiritual body if we are “spiritual” people. The apostle suggests that the resurrection requires an interior journey, a transformation of the heart and the mind as well as of the body, a transformation of our attitudes; indeed, we must receive in us the “seeds of immortality.” We do this by listening to the Gospel, participating in the holy liturgy, living in fraternity, and practicing love. This is how the seed of immortality given on the day of our Baptism grows in us: a seed that must be guarded, protected, and cultivated every day. In this sense, our entire life is a struggle between evil, which drags us down, and the Lord’s grace, which tries to lift us up towards heaven. And if the cause of death is sin and pride, which reside in our hearts, the resurrection begins when we bind our lives to Christ. The sting of death, Paul affirms, suffers its defeat when we bind ourselves to Jesus. Obviously it is a living bond, formed by our obedience to the Gospel, our commitment to love, and our struggles against our selfishness. But the apostle adds, “Know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”