Do You Want the Second Coming to Happen?

Fra_Angelico_-_Christ_the_Judge_-_WGA00680

I admire Jesus and how he respects the dignity of every person he encounters. For one to respect the dignity of each person, one must be both compassionate towards the sinner and condemning of the sin. For example, in John chapter 8th he defends the woman who has been caught in adultery, and by the Mosaic law could be stoned. However, Christ declares that we are all with sin and that we all deserve death.

Christ respects the dignity of all. However, the one thing I have to stress is that Christ’s love and acceptance of every person is not a license for free for all. I cringe at the notion when folks bring up that Jesus thinks our moral discussions are trivial as if there is no purpose for them. I would assert that his most sacred heart is stressed from our lack of faith and our constant weakness because of original sin to justify the ruins of the modern world and to reject the City of God.

At the very end of John Chapter 8, Christ does not condemn the woman, but neither does he accept her sin.

John 8:11 RSV
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

By this statement, Christ is both compassionate and firm on the absoluteness of what is moral behavior.

Should we allow faith to be simply personal? Should we not have moral discussions with our communities? I reject this notion that has been birthed by the atheism of Classical Liberalism and the Enlightenment. I do so because  Christ has warned about those who choose sin and promote it in the world so the next generation can fall under its slavery?

Mark 9: 42-47 RSV

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[g] it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin,[h] cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell,[i] to the unquenchable fire.[j] 45 And if your foot causes you to sin,[k] cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.[l][m] 47 And if your eye causes you to sin,[n] pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,

I would certainly assert that since Vatican II, there has been too much of a focus on low Christology, and there has been not enough focus on Christ’s teaching about sin and what leads to the Hell. Everyone wants to feel good inside and teach nothing but the “Jesus Loves You” gospel, but forgets that Jesus is also the Living Torah and the New Moses. When faced with the message of the Gospel of the Law, a common response is “Why can’t we focus more on the gentle Jesus?” It’s not the entire the Gospel, Christ taught about Sin, He was tempted in the desert by Satan, and Satan wants to tempt you to fall from the path of salvation.

In regards to the what I admire about Jesus. I admire his divinity, his sacrifice for our sins, and the judgment of Christ King of the Universe.

I remember my nephew said one day, “Church is boring.” I told him, “Impossible.” He replied, “What do you mean? I said, “Nothing can be boring in the presence of our Lord.”However, the Holiness of Christ and his presence in the tabernacle has never been a stressed point to him at his Catholic school. It was never stressed when I went Catholic school. When I go to Mass, I see that people who are fully capable of a true genuflect give a half-genuflect and leave Mass before the sign of Cross right after communion. I ask, Do you truly feel that Christ is there? Would this be your response if he manifested himself into the Incarnation? Would you leave Mass early? During the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, my Bishop, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, gave a beautiful homily, which came down to this lesson. “Do or do not” You must decide.

Fr. Longenecker just wrote a piece titled: “Jesus is Not Your Best Buddy.” He reminds us that Jesus is the good shepherd and gentle, but he is also the Judge–The Son of Man.

Mt. 24:29-31 RSV:

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; 31 and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mt. 24: 36-44 RSV

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[c] but the Father only. 37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Why is the judgment rarely acknowledged by Christians?

I was called to teach a student one on one because the entire faculty had refused. They were afraid of him. However, the Principal called me, and I agreed to instruct the young man because through Christ I understood that the young man had dignity, and we must do everything we could to turn him from his path of destruction. I took the young man from averaging 40% to 86% in some classes. One day he started to talk about religion. He said, “I hope I am here for the second coming.”
I replied, “Interesting, most people wouldn’t say that…”
The young man was a little shocked by my answer, “What do you mean? Why?” he asked.
I said, “Well, it’s because most people haven’t chosen Christ, they’ve chosen the world.”

Every time we pray, we should pray for the Second Coming, we should pray for the final judgment. How many of us do so?

12 Comments

  1. Your post touches on a hugely important question : the relationship between the Mosaic Law and Christ, and the relationship between a High and a Low Christology. When I tell people that I love John’s Gospel many respond that they prefer Luke because his Gospel is more service oriented. But knowing that Jesus is God and the King of the Universe is so essential for knowing what it means to love. Activism can be (and often ends up being) self-righteous when those involved think that they always know what is right. They lack humility. They forget they are sinners too. I don’t, however, think being reminded of the Last Judgment is a good idea because it leads to imperfect condition, and we should do things out of love for God. Love for God condemns sin and justifies the sinner. I believe that a belief in the divinity of Christ teaches us how to approach others. I will respond to your post in more detail soon. Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity presents a wonderful Christology that brings together High and Low Christology. It is interesting, though, that Jesus tends to aim most of his words at the Pharisees because they don’t see themselves as sinners.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll make it simple, I wrote a whole comment but I think a more direct comment and answer is warranted. I am always perplexed by your Ratzinger comments. I simply do not read Ratzinger in this way. I think he is very orthodox from his writings in Jesus of Nazareth–especially on this topic in the Holy Week volume. And even more so in “Without Roots.”

      However, What is the difference of your viewpoint stated here from “Faith Alone?” It appears to me from your comments that as long as we believe in Christ and do the best we can, then sin has no consequence. Now from my theology classes on Catholicism, this is not what the Church teaches.

      Furthermore, “If we should do good works, why doesn’t this include teaching others that they should sin no more?” Especially when Christ has commanded such?

      I have no problem with stating that my sins are just as vile as anyone else. Every Mass, I ask Christ for mercy. I ask for forgiveness in the confessional.

      Let’s look at a wordly example, If I was a doctor, who was a diabetic, and my patient was a diabetic, would I not warn them not drink Soda? Is it compassion for me to leave them to their vices?

      Furthermore, I will ask a cultural hot topic: Do you think that those who are in their second marriage after divorce committing Sin?

      Do you think this should be changed?

      Why do you throw our the Pharisee comment all the time? Is that not a logical ad hominem? It’s true Christ criticized them, but he also criticized sin time and time again. He criticized the practices of the temple that was the the catalyst to his death.

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      1. I think you misunderstand me. The Ten Commandments are not in the least abolished (I teach them to 4th graders) but they are shown in their richness in the Sermon on the Mount. So yes, sin must be condemned but it is moralism if it is preached apart from Christ. I think it is interesting that every conversion in the Gospels begins with an encounter with Christ. Christ loves the person, the person recognizes his sin, and the person turns away from sin and toward Christ who then sends him out to be his disciple. If the positive encounter with Christ does not occur we do not know how to follow the law properly. We might think healing on the Sabbath is sinful. Christ will judge the living and the dead and our actions matter but how do we know what actions to perform and in what manner? We never follow the law perfectly. We are always on the way. That is Catholic teaching. That’s why there is purgatory but we are judged based on our love (which is shown in our works). That is why the difference between a mortal and a venial sin is love – whether love exists in the individual. To know how to love, Christ had to love us first. I don’t understand your comparison to Protestantism. Protestants separate love from faith, often dismissing the first as unnecessary or a burdensome work. I am hardly saying that. Many people have not experienced the love of God so our moral condemnations mean nothing. Ratzinger’s Christology is this.

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      2. I think I have a more solid ground on your faith.

        However, you’re not entirely right on how we are judged, as we are not solely on our works. We are judged on our works that prove our faith in God, this is told in Matthew 25. Again, Faith and Works.

        However, as pointed out here in the post in the Gospel of Mark, we are condemned for leading those to sin.

        So I ask, in regards to Servus’ post, How would you help teach someone who believes in Gay Marriage, Transgenderism, or anything else that is in conflict with the teachings of the Church after you’ve approached them with acceptance and kindness?

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      3. I don’t know. These are very modern issues in some way. To me they are different precisely because sexuality is now understood as more than sex. Catholics in the blogosphere who are gay and celibate have expressed their displeasure toward posts like Servus’ because they show that the blogger has not even attempted to listen to those who are LGBT. I recommend the blog Mudblood Catholic because the blogger is gay and celibate (a Catholic convert actually). He wrote a very thorough post in response to Fr. Longenecker called “An Open Letter to Fr. Dwight Longenecker” that really called him out on his lack of empathy toward LGBT individuals. I highly recommend it. Catholics are not responsible for hate speech toward homosexuals. Catholics think the Church has done enough for them. Many think homosexuals and transgendered individuals are just whining for no reason even though they are bullied, called names, and shunned. And this by Catholics. This is not OK. This is my last word on this. You can say whatever you want on your blog and I promise not to make another comment about it (after all I’m not gay) but I stand by my responses to Servus’ post yesterday.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m genuinely interested in your approach, which is why I ask, when I was at my University, I would eat lunch everyday with a classmate who was gay and he knew I was Catholic. However, we just talked about history and pop culture, and that was it. On worldly issues we stayed off topic, because we knew where the other most likely stood.

        However, when I first became a history major, my focus was on Ancient Rome and Greece. In those two civilizations, sexuality I would argue was understood as more than sex, and this was an environment that St. Paul would have encountered.

        For example in the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great had a male lover–Hephaestion. When Hephaestion died, Alexander wept in solitude. Is this not a highly document ancient relationship that is built more sex? I would certainly challenge the idea this has been discovered by the modern world.

        I am aware of the blogger, I am also aware that some consider that St. Paul acknowledged that folks are born homosexual, but they should remain celibate.

        Why not have this discussion? I am not condemning, only seeking to understand what I know is the doctrine of The Church and how to effectively communicate it with compassion, because I am a Catholic.

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      5. Or in regard to more on the topic of my particular post, Do you believe anyone is in hell? If so, what sins paved the path?

        I think this is an important question when it comes to Catholicism. For example, my same student asked me about seeing my Father in Heaven. I said, I hope I will see him again in Heaven. He asked, “Why was he a bad guy?” I said, “No, but I don’t know the state of his soul when he died, If he died with mortal sin, that would condemn him to hell. This is what the Catholic Church teaches.”

        The student’s reply, “@#*% Catholics then.”

        I think his response is a very modern response. I think what actually is a modern development is attempting to mold God into a standard that modern man can accept rather than the other way around, simply because the path that Christ asks us to follow is not an easy path. The world will reject us for it, Jesus says so in Mark 13:13.

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  2. The comment to your student is right. I lost my sister when I was 14. I was baptized when I was 15. She never was. I could live my life worried about her. Or I could hope that all people I know have died are saved. My dad’s side of the family is Zoroastrian. I hope that God will save all people because I hope that God will save me. Hans urs von Balthasar’s thesis has never been condemned. In fact, Ratzinger mentioned it in his funeral homily published in the journal von Balthasar founded Communio. I am a strong believer in purgatory. I hope that there is purgatory because I hope that the damage I have caused others through my sins can be fully repaired. I hope that justice will fully reign in this world – that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. As St. Paul says “hope never disappoints”. To me, this sort of hope goes along with belief in the Resurrection. I believe that Christ rose from the grave because otherwise what’s the point? What’s the point if death has the last word? This is getting a bit personal for me as it probably is for you. Life is hard. I don’t think I can write about this anymore

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, as I have found with my Father, you will never stop loving them, thank you for sharing. I will pray for you.

      My next post will be on the Apostle Philip, my confirmation Saint. How we find him in the Gospel of John being always so practical. So it should prove to be a happier tone.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. One thought on Hans urs von Balthasar, since you brought him up. He simply stated that it wasn’t possible to know on this side what happens to others on the other side. It must be stated that he never articulated a thesis or produced a theology that should be construed as universalism, because had he done so, it would have been condemned. However, what he did develop in his theology is still argued and debated in Catholic circles today.

      ““we stand completely and utterly under judgment, and have no right, nor is it possible for us, to peer in advance at the Judge’s cards. How can anyone equate hoping with knowing? I hope that my friend will recover from his serious illness—do I therefore know this?” (p. 166).”

      In the book, Dare We “That Hope All Men Be Saved”?, Hans Urs bon Balthasar argued that universal salvation was a possibility, but he asserted that hell and our damnation is also very likely.

      So, Balthasar does show a concern for the damnation of lost souls. We must asks ourselves, does the modern Catholic Church, or modern Catholics who operate within the Church show a concern for these souls?

      In this manner, he reflects two messages that are consistent in the New Testaments. For example, in Luke 18:27 and 1 Timothy 2:4, it is stated that it is God’s desire for all to be saved. However, in Matt. 7:14, it is declared that the path is narrow and those who find salvation will be few.

      Christ did approach with gentleness, but his central message was the coming of the Kingdom of God. He was very much an eschatological preacher, it is very much the concern of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5.

      Pope Benedict XVI writes on the topic of ‘The Kingdom is at hand” and the sermon on the mount in Jesus of Nazareth: Part One. “The prevailing view today is that everyone should live by the religion–or perhaps by the atheism–in which he happens to find himself already. This, it is said, is the path of salvation for him. Such a view is presupposes a strange picture of God and a strange idea of man and of the right way for man to live…Does someone acheive blessedness and justification in God’s eyes…because he has declared his opinions and wishes to be norms of conscience and so made himself the criterion? No, God demnds the opposite…”To hunger and thirst for righteousness.”–that is the path that lies open to everyone; that is the way that finds its destination in Jesus Christ.”(p.92)

      Of course, I believe this to correlate with my message of respecting the dignity of everyone, yet condemning sin. We are called to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming.

      What I am searching for is the best possible way to do so.

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