The Second Coming of Christ
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
During this month of November we remember and pray for the souls of our brothers and sisters in Purgatory: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon them. May they rest in Peace. Amen. May all the souls of the faithful departed rest in Peace! Amen. This Sunday, I share with you a reflection the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus. I encourage you to reflect over this message a few times this week:
“The Second Coming of Christ - Our desire to see the Face of Christ: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. God speaks through the Prophet Jeremiah in today’s En-trance Antiphon. (Entrance Antiphon, Jer 29:11-12;14)
Jesus Christ fulfilled the mission that the Father had entrusted to Him. There is a certain sense, however, in which His work has yet to be completed. Jesus will come at the end of time to finish what He began. From her earliest days the Church has professed her be-lief in the Second Coming of Christ in glory, to judge the living and the dead. (The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) The Catechism of the Council of Trent states: The Sacred Scriptures inform us that there are two comings of the Son of God: the one when He assumed flesh for our salvation in the womb of a Virgin; the other when He shall come at the end of the world to judge all mankind. This latter coming is called in Scripture the Day of the Lord. (Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 8, 2)
As we enter the final days of the liturgical year the Church reminds us once more of this Truth of Faith. In the First Reading, the Prophet Daniel declares: At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble. (Dan 12:1-3) The reference is to the fullness of time, and to the resurrection of the body: but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. The Prophet speaks of the special glory awaiting those who have contributed to the salvation of others: And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Christians of every age have repeated that wonderful invocation: Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20) This prayer was so widely used that the early Church has passed it down to us in the original Aramaic. (cf 1 Cor 16:22; Didache 10:6) This prayer has been translated into all modern languages and is one of the acclamations which may be used in Holy Mass following the Consecration. In that moment when Christ becomes truly present on the altar, the Church express-es her earnest desire to behold His coming in glory. In this way, the liturgy on earth is harmonized with that of Heaven. Now, as in each and every Holy Mass, there comes to us that consoling reply: ‘He who gives testimony to these things says: Yes, I am coming right away’. (St. John Paul II, Address, 18 May 1980) Even though the moment has not arrived for us to be with Jesus in Heaven, we have a foretaste of this glory at the moment of Communion. St. Pope John Paul II has made this plea: Let us pray that the heartfelt prayer of the Church, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’, will become the spontaneous plea of every human heart. We can never be satisfied by the things of the world. Our hearts yearn for the promised blessings still to come. (St. John Paul II, Address, 18 May 1980). Then shall our glorified bod-ies be in the presence of God. Let us pray to Jesus with renewed vigor: Vultum tuum, Domine, requiram. (Ps 26:8) Lord, I long to see your face.
His coming in Glory: The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; Thou holdest my lot. I keep the Lord always before me; be-cause He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. For Thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. (Responsorial Psalm, Ps 15:5; 8-10) In the Acts of the Apostles (cf Acts 2:25-32; 13:35) St Luke interprets today’s Responsorial Psalm as referring to Christ and the events of His Second Coming. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup. He has taken my side. There-fore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, now and till the end of time. Then Christ will be seated at the right hand of God. (Second Reading, Heb 10:11-14; 18)
Our Lord describes the last days in today’s Gospel: And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the Angels, and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of Heav-en. (Mark 13:24-32) Though His Incarnation and Passion took place in historical time without any great splendor, His Second Coming will astound the Heavens and the earth. As has been earlier foretold by the Prophet Daniel, Jesus states: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from Heaven, and the powers in the Heavens will be shaken. He will come as the Redeemer of the world, as King, Judge and Lord of the Universe. The Fathers of the Church have taught us that He will not make a new judgment. He will summon to His tribunal those who judged Him on earth. He who remained silent at that time will refresh the memories of His persecutors who deigned to insult Christ on the Cross. He will say to them: ‘You did this to Me yet I held my peace’. There on Calvary, Christ taught mankind the meaning of Mercy. At His Second Coming all men will be obliged to submit to His reign, whether they want to or not… This is why we pray in the Creed that we believe in Him who ‘ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.’ (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 15 on the two comings of Christ) He will manifest His glory to His faithful servants and also to those who have denied Him or persecuted His followers. All humanity will be there to see the Lord as He is: There-fore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and eve-ry tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)
Then we shall fully understand the transcendental importance of our daily struggle to follow Christ. What a treasure lies in those small details of service that we perform day after day for God and our neighbor! Jesus will reward those who prove faithful to the end. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure.
Waiting for the Day of the Lord: Today’s Responsorial Psalm continues: Thou dost show me the path of life; in Thy presence there is fullness of joy, in Thy right hand are pleasures for ever-more. (Responsorial Psalm, Ps 15:11)
The inspired writers of Holy Scripture often refer to the Second Coming with the Greek word parousia. This term was used to de-scribe the solemn entry of the Emperor into a city or province. He would then be declared the savior of that territory. These triumphal arrivals were usually the occasion for feasting and the beginning of a new calendar. (cf M. Schmaus, Dogmatic Theology, VII, p. 134) Everything combined to signify a new beginning. We ought to look forward to the Second Coming of Christ as to the occasion of a great celebration. The souls of the dead will then be reunited with their glorified bodies. A new calendar will then commence to inaugurate a new form of existence in the Presence of God.
The first Christians were inspired by their longing for the Day of the Lord to persevere in the face of every form of adversity. Over and over again St Paul invokes this future time of blessing. We should imitate the early Christians in this holy practice, especially when we encounter difficulties in our environment. As St. Paul reminded the Christians at Thessalonica: W e are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your Faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Therefore we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and Faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous Judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (2 Thess 1:3-5) From time to time the Lord may permit us to suffer for our beliefs.
He allows us to experience sickness and pain. God wants us to put our trust in Him. Then we will be more detached from our sense of personal importance, from the state of our health, from our possessions…
We will thus become better prepared for His Second Advent in Glory. It is of vital importance that we who are living in the midst of the world maintain a lively remembrance that the Kingdom of God, which had its beginnings here on earth in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing, and that its authentic development cannot be measured by the progress of civilization, of science or of technology. The true growth of the Kingdom of God consists in an ever-deepening knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, in ever-stronger Hope of eternal blessings, in an ever more fervent response to the Love of God, and an ever more generous acceptance of Grace and holiness by men. (St. Paul VI, Credo of the People of God, 27) (From: In
Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez)
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, St. Joseph, St. Michael, St. Paul, and all the Holy Angels, may God grant us the Grace to prepare for our Lord’s Coming!
In Christ through Mary,