60.RESURRECT THE DEAD. The one who believes shall not be judged.

Created: Friday, 11 July 2014 Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The one who believes shall not be judged

1. The so called “newest” are very old. They really are bad news, put the fear into the body of the people: death, judgement, hell and glory. Besides, the purgatory is often presented like a small hell. It is true that, talking about someone who has died, this wish is formulated: “let him be in glory”, but it does not go further. We can spend our whole life going to mass and to die with fear to the death and the fear to the judgement. Nevertheless, the resurrection now (with no displacements, in the last day of the life!) it is part of the Gospel’s good news: “The dead resurrect” (Mt 11, 5). Jesus says to the twelve: “Resurrect the dead” (10, 8). Resurrection and judgement are “the even larger works” (Jn 5, 20) that Jesus carries out already in the present. Now well, “that one who believes in him, shall not be judged” (3, 18). It is necessary to revise the tradition in the light of the Scripture. “The Scripture cannot fail” (Jn 10, 35), says Jesus.
2. In Jesus times, we find diverse positions. The Sadducees “say that there is not resurrection, neither angel nor spirit, while the Pharisees profess all that” (Acts 23, 8), The Sadducees are in favour of the pact with the empire, they think that God abandons the world to its destiny and that the resurrection is a novelty with no basement. Martha, Lazarus´ sister, says what she has been taught and, in fact, it is of little help. “I already know that he shall resurrect in the resurrection of the last day” (Jn 11, 24). Jesus announces her the novelty of the Gospel: “I am the resurrection. That one who believe in me, although he dies, he shall live; and everyone who is alive and believes in me, shall never die, do you believe it?” (11, 25, 26).To the Sadducees Jesus says that those who die “are like angels”, “they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” That the dead resurrect already Moses indicated it in the chapter of the blackberry. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob “is not a God of dead people, but of those alive, because for him all are alive” (Lk 20, 36-38) Then as much as now, Mary’s mistake is very spread, the displacement of the resurrection to the last day of history. How, then, resurrect dead persons? Saint Paul says: “When buried it is a natural body, but it will be raised as a spiritual body.” (1 Co 15, 44). Other aspects may be seen in the Catechesis number 7. The dead persons resurrect.
3. God´s word creates and heals, also resurrect and judges. The resurrection and the judgement are God´s works, the “even larger works” that Jesus carries out already in the present, works that only God may do: “As the father resurrect the dead persons and he gives them the life, so also the son gives the life to whoever he loves. Because the father does not judge anybody, but he has delivered all judgement to the son”, “I truly tell you: that who listens my word and believes in the one who has sent me, he has eternal life and he shall not be involved in judgement, but he has passed from death to life” (Jn 5, 21 – 24), “that one who believes in him, is not judged” (3, 18). This is forgotten in the middle of the old tradition that put the fear to the death and the fear to the judgement. It is necessary to put the clock in the right time. “Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the father has life in himself and he has given to the Son also to have life in himself. And he has empowered him as well to carry out Judgment, for he is a son of man. Do not be surprised at this: the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear my voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to a resurrection of judgement.” (5, 25-29)
4. The prophets announce God´s judgement like “the day of the rage” (Zeph 1, 18), like “fire”, the fire of the outrage, that can be imminent. “The Lord in fire comes” (Is 66, 15). He is “like fire in the foundry and like the lye used for bleaching”,  “He will be as a refiner or a fuller. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver.”(Ml 3, 2-3), he shall judge the nations in the valley of Josaphat (God judges, Jl 4, 12), “the day already comes, flaming as a furnace. On that day all the proud and evildoers will be burned like straw”, “on the other hand the sun of justice will shine upon you who respect my Name” (Ml 3, 19-20). Sodoma and Gomorra images are used (Gn 19, 24-25), of Tofet in the valley of the  gehenna, a place of pleasure that became a place of horror: “And on their way out they will see the corpses of those who rebelled against me. Their worms shall not die, nor their fire be quenched” (Is 66, 24)
5. John the Baptist tells of to Pharisees and Sadducees so: “Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your con version, and do not think: We have Abraham for our father. I tell you that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The axe is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me… will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in his hand and he will clear out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn in everlasting fire.” (Mt 3, 7 – 12). Jesus also uses other expressions: To lose the life (Mk 8, 35), don’t being known (Mt 7, 23), to be thrown to the outside darkness: there it will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth (22, 13). “The scripture expresses this with horrible words: Darkness, gnashing of teeth, crying, fire. But it is necessary to understand these images like a material description. Nevertheless, they serve very well to express the horror of having lost the purpose of the own existence” (NCA, 460)

6. In the exodus God save the oppressed and judges the oppressor. The believer, who lives the Gospel, ought not to fear the day of the Lord, as if it were for him the day of the rage, since, like he is, so we will be in this world” (1Jn 4, 17). In the prayer, in the medieval “Dies irae” fear to the judgement dominates. In the psalms the oppressed expect the judgement with hope. “Let it know among the people” (Ps 79). A strict judgement waits to scribes and Pharisees (Mt 12, 38-42), to the cities that have not converted (11, 20-24), to the generation that does not listen Jesus´ word (11, 16-19). Nations will be judged by assumed attitude “before one of these my humble brothers” (25, 45). “From now on, says Jesus to Caiaphas, you will see the man sit to the right of the power and to come over the clouds of heaven” (26, 64). And to the twelve: “you will also sit over thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel” (19, 28)

7. God´s judgement does not constitute the man into innocent or guilty. God´s judgement discovers that situation: “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in him will not be judged. He who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. This is how the Judgment is made: Light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. (Jn 3, 1-19). Really “it is easy to the Lord, the day of the death, to judge each one according to their way he has lived” (Sir 11, 26)

8. Jesus announces the end of this world that passes and the emergence of the kingdom of God, that creates “the new heaven and the new earth” (Is 66, 22). This generation, says Jesus, seems that of Noah (Mt 24, 37- 39), and that of Lot (Lk 17, 28-29): it lives backwards to its own end. Jesus´ words are good for every generation. The end is personal and non-transferable: “There will then be two in the field: one is taken, the other left” (Mt 24, 40). So that, there is no sense in asking the when (Mt 24, 3) of the where of the end: “Where the body is, there the vultures will meet” (Lk 17, 37). The end is a dimension of the present world. It has its signals that we are able to discern, as we are able to discern that the summer is near, looking at the tender branches of the fig tree (Mt 24, 32-33)

9. In the middle of the signals that in every epoch announce to the world its own end (war, hunger, plague, death), it echoes the good news that, happens whatever may be, a new world is born: “All this will be the beginning of a new birth” (24, 6-14). As Saint Paul says: “We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth” (Rm 8, 22). It is the last exodus: “when you see the first events, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near.” (Lk 21, 28). At the end, it is not the void, the Lord is there: “When you see all this, know that the time is near, even at the door” (Mt 24, 33). We do not know neither the day nor the time (24, 36). One thing is important: to be vigilant (24, 42)

10. God liberates from the fear to the death, announcing the resurrection in the last day of the life: “This is may father’s will: that anyone who sees the son and believes in him, have eternal life and I resurrect him the last day” (Jn 6, 40), “that one who believes in me, although he dies he shall live” (11, 26). In effect, Jesus annihilates the power of the death and liberates “to those, who being afraid of the death, were submitted to slavery all their life” (Hb 2, 15). Jesus shares his mission: Resurrect dead persons (Mt 11, 5). It is a mandate. It is for today. We can collaborate with him, “to take off the stone”, to listen the word that says: “Come out”, “untie him and let him walk” (Jn 11, 39-44)

11. According to the Catholic Church Catechism, “we will resurrect in the last day” (n. 1016), “at the end of the world” (N. 1001; LG 48); “an spiritual body resurrects” (n. 1017), “every man, after dying, receives in his immortal soul his eternal retribution in a particular judgement… either trough a purification, or to go immediately into heaven, or to immediately be condemned for ever” (n. 1022). The resurrection of the death “will precede final Judgement. This will be “the time in which all those in the sepulchres will hear his voice”.. then, Christ will come `in his glory accompany of all his angels´… (n. 1033). The hell is a “state of definitive auto-exclusion from God´s  and the blessed communion. (n. 1033). “The souls of those who die in state of mortal sin descend to hell after death and there they suffer the punishment of the hell” (n. 1035)

12. The dogma of the purification is defined in the Lyon (1274) and Florence (1439) councils: “If, truly penitents, they die in God´s love, before having satisfied with worthy fruits of penitence what they have committed and omitted, their souls are purified after the death by the penitence of the purgatory. So that those punishments be alleviated, living faithful´ suffrages are useful for them”. Jesus prays before the Lazarus´ tomb (Jn 11, 41-42), but he does not insist in the prayer for the dead. (2 Mc 12, 40-46), he rather denounces the scribes, who “devour the property of widows while making a show of long prayers” (Lk 20, 47). The death may be a purification.

* Dialogue: Is it necessary to revise the tradition in the light of the Scripture?