VATICAN CITY — 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 Sept. 16 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“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.”