Sunday of the Glorious Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:12-26
But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say 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. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Praise be to God always.
I. Bibilical Exegesis
[15:12–19] Denial of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:12) involves logical inconsistencies. The basic one, stated twice (1 Cor 15:13, 16), is that if there is no such thing as (bodily) resurrection, then it has not taken place even in Christ’s case.
[15:17–18] The consequences for the Corinthians are grave: both forgiveness of sins and salvation are an illusion, despite their strong convictions about both. Unless Christ is risen, their faith does not save.
[15:20–28] After a triumphant assertion of the reality of Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor 15:20a), Paul explains its positive implications and consequences. As a soteriological event of both human (1 Cor 15:20–23) and cosmic (1 Cor 15:24–28) dimensions, Jesus’ resurrection logically and necessarily involves ours as well.
[15:20] The firstfruits: the portion of the harvest offered in thanksgiving to God implies the consecration of the entire harvest to come. Christ’s resurrection is not an end in itself; its finality lies in the whole harvest, ourselves.
[15:21–22] Our human existence, both natural and supernatural, is corporate, involves solidarity. In Adam…in Christ: the Hebrew word ’ādām in Genesis is both a common noun for mankind and a proper noun for the first man. Paul here presents Adam as at least a literary type of Christ; the parallelism and contrast between them will be developed further in 1 Cor 15:45–49 and in Rom 5:12–21.
[15:24–28] Paul’s perspective expands to cosmic dimensions, as he describes the climax of history, the end. His viewpoint is still christological, as in 1 Cor 15:20–23. 1 Cor 15:24, 28 describe Christ’s final relations to his enemies and his Father in language that is both royal and military; 1 Cor 15:25–28 insert a proof from scripture (Ps 110:1; 8:6) into this description. But the viewpoint is also theological, for God is the ultimate agent and end, and likewise soteriological, for we are the beneficiaries of all the action.
[15:26] The last enemy…is death: a parenthesis that specifies the final fulfillment of the two Old Testament texts just referred to, Ps 110:1 and Ps 8:7. Death is not just one cosmic power among many, but the ultimate effect of sin in the universe (cf. 1 Cor 15:56; Rom 5:12). Christ defeats death where it prevails, in our bodies. The destruction of the last enemy is concretely the “coming to life” (1 Cor 15:22) of “those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:23).
II. Old Testament Resources
[15:22] Gn 3:17–19.
[15:25] Ps 110:1.
III. Patristic Resources
“And when Jesus, the slayer of Death, came, and clothed Himself in a Body from the seed of Adam, and was crucified in His Body, and tasted death; and when (Death) perceived that He had come down, he was shaken from his place and was agitated when he saw Jesus; and he closed his gates and was not willing to receive Him. Then Jesus burst his gates, and entered, and began to destroy all Death’s possessions. But when the dead saw light in the darkness, they lifted up their heads from the bondage of death, and looked forth, and saw the splendour of the Messiah-King.” – St. Ephrem, Demonstration XXIII
For by dying He underwent the laws of hell, but by rising again He broke them, and so destroyed the continuity of death as to make it temporal instead of eternal. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – St. Leo the Great, Sermon LIX. (on the Passion, VIII.: on Wednesday in Holy Week).
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'” Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
This is the Truth. Peace be with you.
I. Biblical Exegesis
[16:1–8] The purpose of this narrative is to show that the tomb is empty and that Jesus has been raised (Mk 16:6) and is going before you to Galilee (Mk 16:7) in fulfillment of Mk 14:28. The women find the tomb empty, and an angel stationed there announces to them what has happened. They are told to proclaim the news to Peter and the disciples in order to prepare them for a reunion with him. Mark’s composition of the gospel ends at Mk 16:8 with the women telling no one, because they were afraid. This abrupt termination causes some to believe that the original ending of this gospel may have been lost.
[16:1] the sabbath was past: It was after 6p.m. on Holy Saturday
[16:2] first day of the week: Sunday morning. Christians commemorate this weekly as the “Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).
[16:5] a young man: Matthew calls him an “angel of the Lord” (Mt 28:2)
[16:6] He has risen: The Resurrection of Jesus is the greatest miracle of history. The New Testament descibes it as a glorious accomplishment of the Trinity: the Father (Rom. 6:4), the Son (John 10: 17-18), and the Holy Spirit (Rom.1:4).
[16:7] Peter: Peter is singled out as the leader of the Apostles.
II. Patristic Resources
Venerable Bede: Matthew shews clearly enough, that the stone was rolled away by an Angel. This rolling away of the stone means mystically the opening of the Christian Sacraments, which were held under the veil of the letter of the law; for the law was written on stone.
Pseudo-Jerome: But the bitter root of the Cross has disappeared. The flower of life has burst forth with its fruits, that is, He who lay in death has risen in glory.
Wherefore he adds, “He is risen; He is not here.
Aphrahat: But as for you, my beloved, have no doubt as to the Resurrection of the dead. For the living mouth (of God) testifies:— I cause to die and I make alive. And both of them proceeded out of one mouth. And as we are sure that He causes to die, and we see it; so also it is sure and worthy of belief, that He makes alive. And from all that I have explained to you, receive and believe that in the day of the Resurrection your body shall arise in its entirety, and you shall receive from our Lord the reward of your faith, and in all that you have believed, you shall rejoice and be made glad.
“Christ is Risen!!!!!!”
This is the foundational proclamation of our Apostolic Faith. As the angel at the Tomb of Jesus tells the women who had come to anoint his body; He is Risen and will show himself to Peter and the other Apostles. He will strenghten and confirm their faith in his Resurrection, so they might assume their ministry as pillars of the Church, and when he leaves them, they will be given the Holy Spirit of truth.
Sacred Scripture has taught us that the wages of sin was death. That before Jesus all who had died, even the righteous were trapped in the darkeness of death. Death had not only isolated us from our Creator, but it also had become the great destroyer of all the hopes, longings, and desires of our human nature for eternal peace, and love.
Jesus, the Eternal Logos of the Father enters into our human history, indeed, he
makes history salvation history. He is like us in all things but sin and accepts the bitter cup of sacrifice, so that by his death, death’s grip on us is broken, by his resurrection we rise to new life, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit, we too become bearers of the truth, and proclaimers of the great deeds of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.
On Easter, we like the women who came to the Tomb, discover he is not there, he is risen. On Easter, we like the Apostles await his arrival, no longer as rabbi but as Lord. We await the King of Glory, who still bearing the marks of sacrifice, glows with the light of the Resurrection. We are allowed to see what kings, prophets, and the righteous always longed to see, the Lord of Life, the Prince of Peace.
“Christ is Risen”
This is our Easter joy, this is hope fulfilled, this is life eternal.