Sunday, November 19, 2006

Note to Catholics: The Second Coming is real

Mark 13:24-32:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall be falling down, and the powers that are in heaven, shall be moved.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Now of the fig tree learn ye a parable. When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves are come forth, you know that summer is very near. So you also when you shall see these things come to pass, know ye that it is very nigh, even at the doors. Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, until all these things be done.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away. But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father.

We have come collectively to that point in each year when the Church begins to signal the end of a Liturgical Year. The last Sunday of the Church Year 2006 is next Sunday, culminating with the feast of Christ the King. All of our other feasts and celebrations as Christians celebrate something that has already taken place but is central to our belief, such as Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost. Christ the King is a uniquely Catholic feast that celebrates a future event-the triumphant return of our Lord in glory.

Each year at around this time Catholics the world over will hear readings like this one in Sunday Mass, yet when one of our evangelical brethren talks to a Catholic about the end times or the return of Our Lord, very often the evangelical in question will get a blank stare in return.

It may come as news to some in Catholic quarters that one of the things Catholics have in common with evangelicals and all orthodox Protestants is a belief in the real and bodily return of Christ and a real and bodily ressurrection of the dead-albeit both in glorified form. Christ is returning one day to raise his people up to new life-if you are a believer, that isn't a matter of speculation, it is a hard fact. Rather than give our evangelical brothers and sisters blank stares and bumbling answers when the topic of Our Lord's return is raised, Catholics should embrace the reality of the Lord's return and study the Church's teaching about the Lord's coming. In this way we not only can discuss the Second Coming of Our Lord with our friends in a rational way, but we can live each day as though that day might be the day the Second Coming actually happens.



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