Ordinary Time - Week 33c

Second Coming of Christ

(From Conversation with God, Fernandez Carvajal)

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 belief in the Second Coming of Christ in glory, to judge the living and the dead. 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 human 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."

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." 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 for ever and ever."

Christians of every age have repeated that wonderful invocation: "Come, Lord Jesus!" This prayer was so widely used that the early Church has passed it down to us in the original Aramaic: Maranatha. 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 expresses 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 Mass, there comes to us that consoling reply: 'He who gives testimony to these things says: Yes, I am coming right away'. 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. 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. Then shall our glorified bodies be in the presence of God. Let us pray to Jesus with renewed vigour: Lord, I long to see your face.