Preaching the Resurrection (2). The contemporary Church

Frank J. Matera

The previous article explained how the early Church preached the Resurrection in light of the challenges it faced. This article addresses a more pressing question: how can we preach the Resurrection today? Frank J. Matera is Professor Emeritius of the Catholic University of America.

The challenges we face
Although our churches are full on Easter Sunday, we still face many challenges when preaching the Resurrection. I highlight two. First, the Resurrection no longer appears to be relevant to the lives of many Christians. Second, there is confusion about what we mean by the Resurrection.

Is the Resurrection still relevant? This may seem a strange question. After all, the Resurrection is at the centre of our faith and Easter is one of those days when our churches are still full. So why ask if the Resurrection is still relevant? After all, we profess our faith in the Resurrection every week when we recite the Creed. The question, however, is rooted in what I experience at some wakes and funerals. I want to emphasize that what I am about to say is anecdotal and does not apply to all wakes and funerals.

First, let us consider the way in which people sometimes approach the funeral of a loved one. The contemporary funeral is often billed as a celebration of someone’s life, of all that the deceased has done and accomplished. This, of course, is not necessarily wrong. We do celebrate someone’s life at the moment of death. But this is not all that we do. Nor is it the primary purpose of the funeral liturgy.

Login for more...