Sometime back, we had posted an article titled ‘Will He Come Again?’. We never had any doubt that He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Then, why should we have framed it as a question rather than as an affirmation? Because many around us, especially many Christians, do not have that solid faith to confess this elementary Christian teaching; that our Lord will come again! We are saying it in the Apostles’ Creed, we are repeating it many times in the Holy Mass, we recite it at the beginning of the Rosary. Yet, when it comes to a point where we have to assert our faith in the second coming of Jesus Christ, many of us do waver.
So we have to start from the scratch, though in the eleventh hour it is awkward to return to the basic catechism of the Church. When we say that we are in the eleventh hour, bear in mind that we are fast approaching the finishing point about which we discuss now. ‘If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy’ ( Phil.2:1), then reassert in your hearts that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will come again. Well, it is the belief of every Christian, what is so special about us, you might ask. We need to clarify it. Everybody believes that Jesus Christ will come some day. For many, it is something to happen after thousands of years. The other day, I was talking to a Catholic priest. When the discussion slipped into the topic of second coming, he bluntly told me; ” Hey, it is not going to happen in the near future. May be a thousand years from now”. Such is the level of our awareness in the gospel and teachings of the Church.
Some other people might ask; “Where is the promise of his coming?” For them everything goes on as usual. They do not find any reason to believe that the second coming of Jesus Chirst is nigh. My advice to the readers is that they should not be carried away by this seemingly innocuous question. You are not the first person to hear this question, nor are they the first persons to ask it. When St Peter wrote his second Epistle, he had in mind those who are going to ask this question in the coming years and centuries. “First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts, and saying; “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation!” (2 Peter 3: 3-4).
What we must understand from the words of Peter is that when scoffers challenge us with such questions, end times are at hand. The very fact that people started doubting about the promise of Christ’s second coming is one of the major proofs that we are living in the end days. Instead of
using the euphemism of ‘doubting the promise of Christ’s second coming’ we better use the single word ‘apostasy’ in its place. It takes us directly to St Paul’s narration of the end times. ‘Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction’ (2 Thess. 2:3). Paul says that rebellion should happen first followed by the man of sin (the lawless one) revealing himself. What does rebellion mean in this context? Reading further, we will get its explanation. It is the word used to denote man’s actions against God, in other words apostasy.
Now let us look at what Jesus says in this regard. It is better to start with his famous lamentation about the last generation. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” ( Luke 18:8). Jesus is warning us that in the end times many people will lose their faith. They will exchange the truth of God with the falsity of Satan who offers them anything they like but deny the most important thing, which is eternal salvation.
And what will happen when we lose our faith? Anything can happen. We are created in the image and likeness of the Eternal God and when we distance ourself from the fellowship with God by slipping from faith, anything can happen. Jesus warns of certain specific consequences of falling from faith. ‘Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold’ ( Mathew 24:10-11)
What do you think? Or rather what do you feel when you look around? Are you not convinced that we are living in the end times? If not, at least
listen to what St Pope John Paul II has to say. During the Eucharistic Congress held at Philadelphia in the 1970s, he remarked; “We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist”.
Was it his personal opinion? Never. Because the Catholic Church teaches exactly the same thing in its Catechism. ‘Before Christ’s second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth 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’ ( CCC 675). Everything from second coming of Jesus Christ and persecution of the Church and largescale apostasy preceding it are part of Church’s unchanged teachings. Further CCC 680 teaches that ‘the triumph of Christ’s kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil’. If a learned and saintly man like Pope John Paul II could discern the signs of the times four and a half decades ago, what prevents us from reading those signs that are getting more and more visible in these days!
It takes us to another level where we have to think about the final battle between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel and between Christ and the antichrist. Perhaps it is more easy now to understand the current events in the light of this prophesied final battle. It is my belief that the world has by now split into two camps; one for Christ and the other against Christ. One for gospel and the other against gospel. One for the Church and the other against the Church. This final battle is unfolding before our own eyes. We cannot be silent spectators here. We are the last generation destined not only to witness this fierce battle but to take part in it too. Jesus has clearly warned us that those who are not with him are against him. So we have to take a stand. Either for or against Christ.
When national governments enact laws against christian faith, when they promote murder of the unborn, when they orchestrate wars for no reason, when they appease everybody else at the expense of Christians, when they welcome everything except what is Christian, which side would you align yourself to? If you are expecting Christ it needs preparations. If you are expecting the antichrist, there is no need of any preparations.
If you are with the gospel, it needs a life according to the gospel. If you are anti-gospel go as usual. If you are with the Church, believe what the Church teaches. If you are anti-church you are free to believe whatever you like.
We have heard umpteen number of messages and warnings from heaven especially during the past few years. All of them stress the importance of getting ready for our great meeting with Jesus, who is to come soon. This is a wake up call to all those who are waiting for that great event. Leave the worldly things and return to prayer. Holy Communion is the surest weapon to defeat our enemy who would otherwise charge towards us. To those who have not yet consecrated their lives to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, we request again to realise its importance. Our Lady has promised that not a single soul consecrated to her Immaculate Heart will be lost. Our Lady winds up the series of her messages to Fr Stefano Gobbi which lasted for a quarter century with these words. ” All has been revealed to you” (message no 604 dated 31st December 1997). True, the apparitions and messages of the Blesed Virgin describe the shape of things to come in the end times. We can ask her help in these days of great confusion preceding the glorious second coming of our Lord.
Most important, always be in a state of grace. Our lamps should be ready with oil at all times because the bridegroom could come any moment.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten our souls to read the signs of the times and prepare us to greet our Lord when he descends from heaven.
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit through the intercession of our Blessed Mother.
‘Come, Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved Spouse.’