Friday, 21 March 2014

Death and Christ's Promise -- Saint Anastasius sermon

Death is not the End

I work in a funeral home - death is a daily occurrence.  Being Catholic I have the faith in Christ's promise.  And I pray for those who pass through here... and all the dead for the Mercy of God to be upon them.

Many family (and deceased) come through the doors with no faith at all - saying that death is final and there is nothing else.  What a horrible way to live thinking that there is nothing. 

Today is full of unbelievers... it seems to be an epidemic. We must do all in our power to tell the Truth... to all who will listen so that we can save souls.  

I wanted to share with you a sermon on the subject of the Resurrection of the Dead by a great saint.  I hope it inspires you as it has me.

 From a sermon by 
Saint Anastasius of Antioch, bishop

  Christ will change our lowly body

To this end Christ died and rose to life that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But God is not God of the dead, but of the living. That is why the dead, now under the dominion of one who has risen to life, are no longer dead but alive. Therefore life has dominion over them and, just as Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again, so too they will live and never fear death again. When they have been thus raised from the dead and freed from decay, they shall never again see death, for they will share in Christ’s resurrection just as he himself shared in their death.

This is why Christ descended into the underworld, with its imperishable prison bars: to shatter the doors of bronze and break the bars of iron and, from decay, to raise our life to himself by giving us freedom in place of servitude.

But if this plan does not yet appear to be perfectly realized — for men still die and bodies still decay in death — this should not occasion any loss of faith. For, in receiving the firstfruits, we have already received the pledge of all the blessings we have mentioned; with them we have reached the heights of heaven, and we have taken our place beside him who has raised us up with himself, as Paul says: In Christ God has raised us up with him, and has made us sit with him in the heavenly places.

And the fulfillment will be ours on the day predetermined by the Father, when we shall put off our childish ways and come to perfect manhood. For this is the decree of the Father of the ages: the gift, once given, is to be secure and no more to be rejected by a return to childish attitudes.

There is no need to recall that the Lord rose from the dead with a spiritual body, since Paul in speaking of our bodies bears witness that they are sown as animal bodies and raised as spiritual bodies: that is, they are transformed in accordance with the glorious transfiguration of Christ who goes before us as our leader.

The Apostle, affirming something he clearly knew, also said that this would happen to all mankind through Christ, who will change our lowly body to make it like his glorious body.

If this transformation is a change into a spiritual body and one, furthermore, like the glorious body of Christ, then Christ rose with a spiritual body, a body that was sown in dishonor, but the very body that was transformed in glory.

Having brought this body to the Father as the first-fruits of our nature, he will also bring the whole body to fulfillment. For he promised this when he said: I, when I am lifted up, will draw all men to myself.

taken from the Liturgy of the Hours
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