Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The second coming of the Lord
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words. 1Thes 4,14-18
Today Paul announces three events which, for us Christians, represent three absolute truths: “Jesus died and rose”, those who died in the faith are “with him” and a second coming will take place by the end of the times. The first of these truths, which already occurred, gives the certainty to the other two, to which to believe we have to follow the same path of faith of the ones who were present to the recovery of the paralytic: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home” (Lk 5,24). The second truth, the one saying that the people who died in the faith are with God together with Jesus Christ, is for us a matter of great consolation: it assures us that our beloved people are in the heaven, in the communion of the saints, and that that one will be our destiny for the eternity. With relation to the third truth, which speaks about the coming of the Lord by the end of the times, Paul, because he does not know when it will take place, imagines that it will be close by, but in the reality it will need long time to take place, because already two thousand years are elapsed and nobody knows how many years will elapse before the moment when it will occur. To have an idea of these eschatological times, we have to think to the marching of the Israel people in the desert, before arriving to the Promised Land: it predicts the marching of the humanity in the arch of the history. If we look the tracing of that march on a geographic map, we are impressed by the fact that the Hebrews arrived quickly in the zone of that land which will become the Palestine, but they lost themselves again in the desert, where they went around for forty years. By meditating the book of the Exodus, it is easy to realize that this happened because the Hebrew people were not yet ready to enter into the Promised Land: they had still to live that long experience in the desert to newly make experience in the fidelity of his God and to reach that human and faithful maturity which they did not have. Going from the prophecy to the forecast about when the end of the times will take place, we can imagine that it will be not close by, because it seems to us that the mankind has still to make a long human and Christian marching, before to be ready to the final manifestation of the glory of God.