Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
As a former high school teacher, I am usually of the opinion that there is no such thing as a foolish question. We learn by questioning. I can still hear myself counseling my students: "I can't teach you anything unless I have some indication of what it is that you still don't understand." At the very least, I would never call someone a "fool" simply for asking a question. So St. Paul and I would differ in the way we would respond to the question that is posed in today's reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians. However, St. Paul and his contemporaries come from an agonistic culture; so his response is understandable from a cultural perspective.
Whenever questions about heaven, eternal life, and any of the other "last things" arise, my Bible Study students can get very inquisitive. I tend to field more questions at this time of the year, as we begin to wind down another liturgical year, than at any other. St. Paul's poetic response to the question of life after death gives us much food for thought. However, I tend to think that it speaks of the now more than it does of the then. "Corruptible," "dishonorable," "weak" and "natural" are adjectives we can all understand. We have, after all, experienced them. By the same token, "incorruptible," "honorable," "powerful" and "spiritual" describe notions which we can imagine only partially.
Our questioning posture will not abate until we experience our own crossing over, our own "exodus." Until that time, we will have to be content with seeing "darkly, as in a mirror." We will simply have to exercise our trust, our faith, our hope in the resurrection of the body, a fundamental element of our creed.