Daniel 12, 1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10, 11-14. 18; St. Mark 13, 24-32
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Even after the apocalyptic predictions surrounding the turning of the millennium failed to materialize, false prophets continue to spring up who will claim to know "the day and the hour" of the final judgment; novel writers and movie directors purport to know exactly "the day and the hour" when the world will end. A current movie says the date is now 2012!
The Church stands fast in the truth delivered once and for all by Christ the Lord that it is not for the faithful to know the day or the hour that the Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, (Cf. Rev 22:20) even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." (Acts 1:7; cf. Mk 13:32.) This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed." (Cf. Mt 24:44; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Theses 2:3-12) (CCC 673)
The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel," for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. (Rom 11:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.) (CCC 674)
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." (Mk 13:24-26)
Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. (Cf. Lk 19:8; Mt 24:12.) The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth (Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.) will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. (Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3;2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18, 22) (CCC 675)
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification o f the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, (Cf. DS 3839.) especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.) (CCC 676)
The Gospel cannot be reduced to liberation theology or Marxist solutions, but comes from Christ only for redemption from sin through the Church the sacrament of salvation for the world.
The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. (Cf. Rev 19:1-9) The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. (Cf. Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.) God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. (Cf. Rev 20:12; 2 Pet 3: 12-13.) (CCC 677)
I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick
(See also paragraph 474 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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