Spiritual Superheroes

“So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.”

I love today’s first reading because it speaks about what happens to us at the second coming of Christ when we experience the resurrection of our bodies. Wait what? Will we have bodies even in heaven? I thought our body decayed and our spirit lived on?

The Catholic Church has always held the teaching of the resurrection of our bodies, in fact, it is mentioned in the creed. But this is not something simply made up by theologians; it is a deeply biblical truth. We see allusions to it here as well several other places in the Bible, the most important probably being the example of Jesus Himself.

After Jesus resurrected He still had His body, but with noticeable differences. He could walk through walls, He was often recognized as a ghost, so his physical appearance was somewhat different, and though there are many accounts of Him cooking and eating with His disciples, He didn’t need food to nourish His body.

This profound reality is known as spiritualization of the body, and it is one of the most exciting, I think, facts about heaven. We know that the human person is a body-soul composite. In heaven after the resurrection of the body, this unity will reach its perfection to the point that we will have the same differences that Christ did after his resurrection.

St. John Paul II talks about this in Theology of the Body. He says, “The truth about man’s destiny cannot be understood as a state of the soul alone, separated from the body, but must be understood as the definitively and perfectly integrated state of man brought about by a perfect union of the soul with the body” (see TOB 66:6).

So in other words, we will become superheroes. Saint John Paul II goes on to say, “Spiritualization means the powers of the spirit will permeate the energies of the body. Because of man’s very nature, perfection cannot resist in a reciprocal opposition of the spirit and the body, but only in a deep harmony between them, in safeguarding the primacy of the spirit” (see TOB 67:1,2).

We will be able to walk through walls, fly, go without eating, gain immortality, keep our perfect figure, never get wrinkles, and much more. But why become like superheroes, or as scripture says, like angels, if we are in heaven and nobody needs saving?

Think about salvation history for a second. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were perfectly happy with God and each other. But even Adam and Eve could not walk through walls or go without eating. They had perfect bodies, but they were not spiritualized. After the fall God sent his only Son to redeem the world and how did he do it? Through a body.

St. John Paul II says, “Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology through the main door” (see TOB 23:4).

And the Catechism points out, “The flesh is the hinge of salvation. We believe in God who is the creator of the flesh; we believe in the word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh, we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and redemption of the flesh.” CCC 1015

So why will we be like superheroes when nobody needs saving? To always remind us of the incredible sacrifice of the cross and the truth of redemption. God loved us so much after we turned away from Him that instead of restoring us to our original perfect state, He restores us to something even beyond that. His love for us is that powerful, and that gives us true reason to rejoice and a real reason for hope.  Let’s take a moment to thank God today for the gift of his life, death, and resurrection, crucial parts of our very own salvation history story. From all of us here at Diocesan, God BLess!

Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com.