Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Second Coming of Jesus. Supporting material comes from the Dogmatic Constitution, “Lumen Gentium”.

Article 7

"FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD"

I. He Will Come Again in Glory

Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

668 "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."548 Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet."549 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled.550

669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body.551 Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom".552

670 Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at "the last hour".553 "Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect."554 Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.555
. . . until all things are subjected to him

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth.556 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover.557 Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God."558 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him:559 Maranatha! "Our Lord, come!"560

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel561 which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.562 According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church563 and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.564

The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel

673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent,565 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."566. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".567

674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.568 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."569 St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"570 The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",571 will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".572

IN BRIEF

680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. The triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

681 On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

The Dogmatic Constitution, “Lumen Gentium” (48) discusses the Second Coming of Christ:

48. The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus, and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God, will attain its full perfection only in the glory of heaven, when there will come the time of the restoration of all things.(237) At that time the human race as well as the entire world, which is intimately related to man and attains to its end through him, will be perfectly reestablished in Christ.(238)

Christ, having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all to Himself.(239) Rising from the dead(240) He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is continually active in the world that He might lead men to the Church and through it join them to Himself and that He might make them partakers of His glorious life by nourishing them with His own Body and Blood. Therefore the promised restoration which we are awaiting has already begun in Christ, is carried forward in the mission of the Holy Spirit and through Him continues in the Church in which we learn the meaning of our terrestrial life through our faith, while we perform with hope in the future the work committed to us in this world by the Father, and thus work out our salvation.(241)

Already the final age of the world has come upon us (242) and the renovation of the world is irrevocably decreed and is already anticipated in some kind of a real way; for the Church already on this earth is signed with a sanctity which is real although imperfect. However, until there shall be new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells,(243) the pilgrim Church in her sacraments and institutions, which pertain to this present time, has the appearance of this world which is passing and she herself dwells among creatures who groan and travail in pain until now and await the revelation of the sons of God.(244)

Joined with Christ in the Church and signed with the Holy Spirit "who is the pledge of our inheritance",(245) truly we are called and we are sons of God(246) but we have not yet appeared with Christ in glory,(247) in which we shall be like to God, since we shall see Him as He is.(248) And therefore "while we are in the body, we are exiled from the Lord (249) and having the first-fruits of the Spirit we groan within ourselves(250) and we desire to be with Christ"'.(251) By that same charity however, we are urged to live more for Him, who died for us and rose again.(252) We strive therefore to please God in all things(253) and we put on the armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and resist in the evil day.(254) Since however we know not the day nor the hour, on Our Lord's advice we must be constantly vigilant so that, having finished the course of our earthly life,(255) we may merit to enter into the marriage feast with Him and to be numbered among the blessed(256) and that we may not be ordered to go into eternal fire(257) like the wicked and slothful servant,(258) into the exterior darkness where "there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth".(259) For before we reign with Christ in glory, all of us will be made manifest "before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil"(260) and at the end of the world "they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; but those who have done evil unto resurrection of judgment".(261) Reckoning therefore that "the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us",(262) strong in faith we look for the "blessed hope and the glorious coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"(263) "who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of His glory(264), and who will come "to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed"(265).

Footnotes

548 ⇒ Rom 14:9.
549 ⇒ Eph 1:20-22.
550 ⇒ Eph 1:10; cf. ⇒ 4:10; ⇒ 1 Cor 15:24, ⇒ 27-28.
551 Cf. ⇒ Eph 1:22.
552 LG 3; 5; cf. ⇒ Eph 4:11-13.
553 I ⇒ Jn 2:18; cf. ⇒ I Pt 4:7.
554 LG 48 # 3; cf. ⇒ I Cor 10:11.
555 Cf. ⇒ Mk 16:17-18, ⇒ 20.
556 ⇒ Lk 21:27; cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31.
557 Cf. ⇒ 2 Th 2:7.
558 LG 48 # 3; cf. ⇒ 2 Pt 3:13; ⇒ Rom 8:19-22; ⇒ I Cor 15:28.
559 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 11:26; ⇒ 2 Pt 3:11-12.
560 ⇒ 1 Cor 16:22; ⇒ Rev 22:17, ⇒ 20.
561 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:6-7.
562 Cf. ⇒ Is 11:1-9.
563 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:8; ⇒ I Cor 7:26; ⇒ Eph 5:16; ⇒ I Pt 4:17.
564 Cf. ⇒ Mt 25:1, 13; ⇒ Mk 13:33-37; I ⇒ I Jn 2:18; ⇒ 4:3; ⇒ I Tim 4:1.
565 Cf. ⇒ Rev 22:20.
566 ⇒ Acts 1:7; Cf. ⇒ Mk 13:32.
567 Cf. ⇒ Mt 24:44; ⇒ I Th 5:2; ⇒ 2 Th 2:3-12.
568 ⇒ Rom I 1:20-26; cf. ⇒ Mt 23:39.
569 ⇒ Acts 3:19-21.
570 ⇒ Rom 11:15.
571 ⇒ Rom 11:12, ⇒ 25; cf. ⇒ Lk 21:24.
572 ⇒ Eph 4:13; ⇒ I Cor 15:28.