Thursday, December 17, 2015
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 106 - Part III.
(Youcat answer - repeated) There are no proofs for the Resurrection of Jesus in the scientific sense. There are, however, very strong individual and collective testimonies by a large number of contemporaries of those events in Jerusalem.
A deepening through CCC
(CCC 643) Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold (Cf. Lk 22:31-32). The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad" Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale" (Lk 24:11; cf. Mk 16:11, 13). When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen" (Mk 16:14).
Reflecting and meditating
(Youcat comment) The oldest written testimony to the Resurrection is a letter that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians around twenty years after Christ’s death: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:3-6). Paul is recording here a living tradition that was present in the original Christian community two or three years after Jesus’ death and Resurrection, when he himself became a Christian — on the basis of his own staggering encounter with the risen Lord. The disciples took the fact of the empty tomb (Lk 24:2-3) as the first indication of the reality of the Resurrection. Women, of all people, discovered it—according to the law of that time they were not able to testify. Although we read about the apostle John that he “saw and believed”(Jn 20:8b) already at the empty tomb, full assurance that Jesus was alive came about only after a series of appearances. The many encounters with the risen Lord ended with Christ’s Ascension into heaven. Nevertheless, there were afterward and there are even today encounters with the living Lord: Jesus Christ lives.
(CCC 644) Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering" (Lk 24:38-41). Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted" (Cf. Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17). Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.