Grace to you!
We continue our reflection on the end time. It’s been the theme of our Catholic liturgical readings for the past couple of weeks, acting as a prelude to the Season of Advent. I intend to wrap up the discussion today and tomorrow before we begin Advent.
You may have observed that the Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching on the end time, what is properly called eschatological discourses, is complex. There are tons of individual theological opinions concerning the end time teachings within the Catholic Church, mainline Protestant Churches, and more frequently, from the Evangelicals. For our reflection, we follow the tradition of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church, consistent with the Lord’s style, has not given any definitive teaching as to the specifics of the timing and the details of the end time events. Her position on the end time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 668-682, under article 7 of the Creed captioned: “From thence he will come again to judge the living and the dead.” You may want to read it at your time.
A few summaries are a consensus. First, the end time must certainly come. Jesus said: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:29-33). There shouldn’t be any doubt about this; the end time and the prophecies preceding it must certainly come.
Second, millennialism is rejected (see CCC 676). Millennialism is the teaching that Jesus will establish a throne in this world and reign here for a thousand years after the current, continuous presence of Christ in his Church. The Church teaches that Christ already reigns in eternity (1 Cor. 15:24-27, Rev. 4 & 5), and that the Church in the world is the sacrament, the seed of Christ’s reign until the end of time (see CCC 668-669).
The “a thousand year reign” spoken of by the Book of Revelation 20:4-6 (used as a support for millennialism) shouldn’t be interpreted literally, but metaphorically. It’s a Hebrew biblical language of showing an indefinite long period of time, understood as the time between the first coming and the second coming of Christ; a time between the Roman emperors’ persecutions (which already have happened) and the final persecutions before the end. It’s a time which, for the Catholic Church, is now.
Third, the signs would be given and there are many of them. If we pay attention, we would be able to see the signs and know it’s coming. Tomorrow, I shall summarize what those signs are and conclude our reflection before Advent.
In the meantime, I invite you to join us as we continue to discover the depth of spiritual life through our daily reflections throughout the Season of Advent.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.