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Christ Will Come Again
Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of sacred Scripture. Please open my mind and heart to receive your word with humility and gratitude. Increase my faith, hope, and love so that your word may bear fruit in my daily life.
- The End of Time: Towards the end of each liturgical year, the Church reflects upon the end of time. “The ‘resurrection of all the dead’… will precede [Christ’s coming] ‘in his glory, and all the angels with him…. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats’” (CCC 1038). This anticipation of Our Lord’s second coming is an essential part of our faith. During the Mass after the consecration the people acclaim, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” St. Bernard spoke of the three arrivals of our Lord: his earthly life, his hidden presence within us, and, finally, his arrival at the end of time. Advent presages the first coming and the end of the liturgical year presages the final coming, and both prepare us for when he comes to us daily–silently, interiorly–but truly.
- When Will It Happen?: When will the Lord finally come? Are we close? These and other questions are common and understandable. However, the Church has persistently taught us that while Our Lord’s coming is imminent, “‘it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.’ This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are ‘delayed’” (CCC 673). The Lord will return, but we do not know when. Therefore, we should not be perturbed upon hearing various prognostics that the end is near. We should not worry so much about the end of the world, but rather prepare ourselves daily for a holy life and a peaceful death.
- Losing Life to Preserve It: ‘Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” Our Lord is inviting us to realize that the things of this world are passing and that only he remains. If we seek to save our lives by merely chasing the pleasures of this life, we risk losing out on Christ himself, the pearl of great price for which we should gladly sell all the rest (Matthew 13:45-46). Rooted in a profound and trusting friendship with Christ, we will fear neither death nor the end of the world. Then, with St. Paul, we too will proclaim: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet… My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:21-23).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you come to your Church and to me in countless ways. I encounter you in Scripture, the Eucharist, Confession, prayer, and ultimately in all my daily experiences—both pleasant and challenging. Help me to see things as you see them, to value them as you value them. Give me the light and the strength to fulfill your will in all things—both now and at the end of my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will say a prayer for the dying.
For Further Reflection: Read Will Christ Soon Return? Part 1, Father Leslie Rumble, Catholic Answers, December 1, 1997.