As the year 2000 approached, one of the promises Jesus made to his disciples received increasing attention: "I will come again." Due to a
variety of sources (Scripture, fundamentalist sects and persons, and various
prophecies) this teaching has undergone a long and varied history of interpretation.
What does it mean when one speaks of Jesus coming in glory? Is there a specific
time involved? Can the Book of Revelation be a guide? Will "the end" be a time
of destruction or new birth? These are some of the questions that are asked
when language of the "second coming" is spoken.
All this talk may lead you to think that all that is important is in the next
life. This is not the case. The Church and sacraments are resources that Christians
have been given to live out the message of Christ in the here and now. Your
sights, therefore, need to be set on this world while recognizing fulfillment
is the next.
The first three things that usually come to mind when thinking of "judgment
of the living and the dead" are heaven, hell and purgatory.
These words have their limitations as well as their truth. How might judgment
' be expressed today? What are Christians judged upon? Where do fairness and
mercy come together?
Finally, Jesus' ministry was about the Kingdom—a place where God's peace
and presence reign. Jesus used a banquet, a wedding feast and other parables
to describe this ''place.'' Is the kingdom a place or more a state of being?
Ultimately, it must be admitted that it is hard for the Church—you and
me—to talk about things that can't be seen, only imagined.