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Apr 21, 2020

Why You and I Need the Resurrection

Dr. Edward Sri

Without the Resurrection, the story of Salvation is only half complete! In today’s episode, Dr. Sri explains how the Resurrection confirms Christ’s divinity and enables us to join God in heaven as his children. Dr. Sri also reflects on how the Resurrection fulfills the Old Testament, pointing out how Jonah and the Whale foreshadows Christ’s resurrection and our call to spread the Gospel to all we meet. 

Snippet from the Show

The Crucifixion brings us into right relationship with God, while the Resurrection allows us to become adopted into God’s family as his sons and daughters. 


Why Is the Resurrection So Important? 

“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:13-14

There are three main reasons why the Resurrection is essential to our Catholic faith:

  1. It’s a confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings
  2. It confirms Christ’s divinity
  3. It fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies

But, what does all this mean for us?

What the Resurrection Means for You and Me

Jesus suffered his Passion and died on the Cross for our sins. That infinite gift of love alone is hard for us to grasp. However, if all Jesus did was die for our sins, sin would be conquered, but we still wouldn’t have heaven. The Catechism teaches:

“The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life.”

CCC 654

By dying on the Cross, Christ fully conquers sin. By rising on the third day, Christ opens the gates of Heaven, allowing us to experience eternal life with him.

“This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.” We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.”

CCC 654

Now that Christ has risen from the dead, our hearts and souls can be filled with his very life. We all, as adopted children of God, have the life of Christ dwelling within us. And when God looks at us, he sees his own son. 

How Jonah and the Whale Foreshadows the Resurrection

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”

Matthew 12:38-42

Jonah, a prophet from the Old Testament, reflects the actions and character of Christ in a special way, especially when looking at Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. If you go to Rome and visit the Sistine Chapel, you’ll see a depiction of Jonah by Michelangelo that can help us draw connections between the two men.

When walking into the Sistine Chapel, you first see the act of Creation, followed by multiple Old Testament stories. However, as the stories are depicted, the people in them grow smaller and smaller, leading up to the depiction of the Resurrection. On the other hand, when you look at the side of the ceiling, you see the Prophets growing bigger and bigger, leading up to Jonah, who’s depicted as the largest prophet. This signifies that as you move through the Scriptures, all of humanity leads up to this one moment when the world is saved by Christ during the Resurrection. The question remains though, why is Jonah the biggest prophet?

Michaelangelo’s The Prophet Jonah

“I called to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and thou didst hear my voice… When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to thee, into thy holy temple.”

Jonah 2:1-2, 7

Sure, there are parallels between Jonah being in the belly of the whale for three days and Christ rising from the dead after three days, but that’s not all. When Jonah was swallowed by the whale, he died. We know this because when Jonah is swallowed by the whale he goes to the belly of Sheol. Sheol is known as the “land of the dead” in biblical language. Additionally, Jonah prays a psalm of thanksgiving from the belly of the whale, saying that his “soul fainted,” a phrase symbolic of death. 

After the three days, the whale spits out Jonah’s body onto the shore, and God speaks to Jonah, saying:

“Arise, go to Nin′eveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”

Jonah 3:2

This is the same language that Jesus speaks when raising people from the dead, just as he did with the daughter of Jairus. And once Jonah goes and preaches in Nineveh, the whole city is converted. Sound familiar? 

If we allow ourselves to be shaped by the new life of Christ within us, then we, just like Jonah, can be a light in our world and aid in the conversion of many around us. 

Let us thank Christ for his Resurrection!  

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