End-Time, Parusia

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year the Gospel appropriately turns our attention to the End-time, the Parousia, the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the mystery of faith we profess in the Mass: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

The first time Jesus came he came as a helpless babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. The second time he will come in the clouds with great majesty. The first time he came he was judged by us, sometimes very harshly and unjustly. The second time he will judge us and we hope with great mercy and compassion.

For the first Christians the End-time, the second coming of Jesus was a cause of great joy, so great that they rejoiced to be found worthy to suffer something for the name of Jesus. The New Testament ends with Maranatha, “Come Lord Jesus.” Today the End-time, the second coming of Jesus is called doomsday, a cause of great fear and anxiety.

Surely this says something about our faith. We profess that we love Jesus and that he loves us unconditionally. So why are we afraid to meet him? Why are we afraid to meet the meek and humble Jesus, the Jesus who was crucified for us, the Jesus we have received so often in the Eucharist? Why are we not like St. Theresa who said on her death bed, “Lord, it is surely time that we see one another?”

Our Lord’s second coming will not be the end of the world. The world will not be annihilated. It will be transformed and all of creation will participate in the victory of Jesus. When will this second coming be? The first Christians thought that it would be in their life time. Perhaps that is the reason that the Gospels were not written till much later. It has been 2,000 years now and still Jesus has not come. Every generation thinks that it will be in their life time. The signs that are given for it to happen are present in every generation. Surely, these signs are present in the world today.

When will be the End-time? The Lord is very clear on this point. No one knows but the Father. And it will happen when we least expect it. So, if you expect it, forget it. But we have to be prepared. Yes. And the preparation is very simple. Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Just be happy to be and to be me. This is the will of God for me and there is nothing that I can do that is more perfect than the will of God. Very simple, yes, but it is not easy. In fact, without God it is impossible.

So, let us ask God to pour his love into our hearts. And let it saturate our being and then filter through, radiate from and overflow to others. And there is no better time to do this then when we are alone today and feel lonely, unappreciated and useless.

And what a wonderful opportunity it is also when we encounter Jesus in the Mass. The Mass is a Memorial of the Parousia. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26) When the Lord instituted the Eucharist on the night he was betrayed He knew that on the next day He would die. He knew also that one day he would return. For the period between these two events He was establishing the Memorial of His redemptive death. The Mass is a constant reminder of His glorious promise: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”


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