Coming in Glory

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified

« prev : next »

All Power in Heaven and Earth (668-669)

By his Ascension, Christ's humanity participates in God's power and authority. He is "Lord both of the living and the dead" (Rom 14:9). He possesses all authority. All creation is fulfilled in him. Although taken up to heaven, Christ dwells on earth in his Church and has authority in the Spirit over the Church (the Kingdom of Christ already present in mystery).

The Last Hour (670)

In Christ, we have entered into "the last hour" (1 Jn 21:8). The renewal of the world is irrevocably under way. The Church (endowed with a real but imperfect holiness) anticipates this renewal when Christ's kingdom is manifested through miraculous signs that accompany the Church's proclamation.

Waiting for the King (671-672)

Jesus' reign will be perfectly fulfilled when he returns as King. "They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Lk 21:27). Although Christ's victory is definitive, his reign still suffers attack by evil powers. Someday there will be "new heavens and a new earth." Until then, the Church, (with sacraments and institutions) groans and travails. That is why Christians pray "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:20).

Jesus said that the hour of the glorious messianic kingdom had not yet come (Acts 1:6-7). Therefore, the present age (a time of the Spirit and of witness) is also a time of distress, of evil, and of waiting and watching.

Awaiting Israel's Conversion (673-674)

We do not know the time of Christ's coming "which the Father has fixed by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). It could happen at any moment or it could be "delayed."

His coming is suspended until he is recognized by "all Israel." Peter said that heaven had to receive Jesus "until the time of universal restoration" (Acts 3:21). Paul said that Israel's heart was hardened until "the full number of Gentiles comes in" (Rom 11:20-26). Finally, there will be Israel's "full inclusion" (Rom 11:12) and God will be "all in all" (Eph 4:13).

The Final Deception - The Antichrist (675-676)

Before Christ comes, the Church will pass through a final trial which will shake the faith of many (Lk 18:8). This "mystery of inequity" will be a religious deception offering men a solution to all problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme deception will be the Antichrist, a pseudo-Messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God.

This deception always happens when people claim to gain messianic hope within history, when really it can only come from "beyond history" and through the Final Judgment. The Church has rejected both millenarianism and its political form, secular messianism.

Triumph after Trials (677)

The Church will enter her final glory only by following her Lord in his death and Resurrection. This will not be an historic triumph of Church ascendancy, but a victory of God. A final unleashing of evil will cause Christ's Bride to come down from heaven. After worldwide cosmic upheavals, God will triumph over evil by the Last Judgment (Rev 20: 12).

Then - All Gathered for Judgment (678-679)

Jesus announced the Final Judgment which will reveal the conduct of every person. Our attitude toward our neighbor will disclose our acceptance or rejection of God's grace. Jesus will say, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40).

By his death, Jesus acquired the right to pass definitive judgment on all mankind. The Father gave "all judgment to the Son" (Jn 5:22). The Son came "to save and to give life" (Jn 3:17). However, by rejecting Christ's gift, a person can condemn himself for all eternity.

« prev : next »