3rd Sunday of Easter

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

The biggest dictionary I can find defines “glory” as the condition of highest achievement or splendor. To glorify someone or something is to place it in a higher plane and to grant it increased esteem and honor. When someone is glorified there is a change in the person’s status. Applied to God it means to give praise and worship. To give glory to the Lord is to recognize God’s magnificence.

Action: God is glorifying you. Glorify God and others in return.

I give these lexical preliminaries because I sometimes wonder what is meant by the glorified body of Jesus. Something different was observed by the apostles who were witnesses to the resurrection. They saw Jesus, touched him, and talked to him. He even challenged Thomas to touch His wounds. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus also asked for food to eat. It was the Lord, yet He was different. He walked in through closed doors. He appeared and disappeared in a sudden and mysterious manner. He had a body but it was not the same body they used to see and touch. Jesus was glorified. He was on a different plane but He could enter our own earthly dimensions. He was transformed.

Whenever we pray that we wish to enter the Lord’s glory and whenever we ask to be glorified, do we really know what we are asking for? We are actually praying for a transformation of our whole being, not just our mind and soul but our body as well. When we enter into the Lord’s glory we will be there with our transformed bodies. The Apostle’s creed that we recite every Sunday mentions the resurrection of the body. This means that even our physical bodies will undergo a transformation like that of the resurrected Lord.

The earth that we know will also be glorified. Sometime in the future it will undergo a complete transformation into what is described by the scriptures as a new heaven and a new earth. It will be the same world but different. It will be a world where God will be all in all. From a valley of tears it will become a place where tears will be no more, where swords will turned into ploughshares, and the lion will rest with the lamb. All these scriptural images speak of a different future condition.

This is a different paradigm from what we may have been taught in our early catechism. We will not be leaving our bodies behind. We will not be leaving this earth behind. Instead our bodies will be transformed and glorified. This world will also be transformed and glorified. In fancy theological terms, we can call this the “eschatology of continuity”. Given this new understanding, shouldn’t we treat our body and our world with more respect? Our body may not be as perfect as we desire it to be. We may wish it to be sculpted, whitened, exfoliated and remodeled. If it is any consolation, this same body will undergo a transformation that is beyond what beauty salons and spas are capable of doing. The same goes for this earth. It may be a world where as of the present we experience pains, disappointments, and frustrations. The good news is that this same earth will be raised into a new level where there is love, justice, fulfillment, and eternal happiness.

This is what resurrection means. Jesus’ own resurrection is an assurance and a promise that we too will be glorified. Resurrection is glorification.