Well, I have to ask: do we actually “wait in joyful hope for the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ?”
I live in a town of about 40,000 in regional Australia and went to the local Catholic school (where I now work as a teacher). From what I was taught in my youth, and from what I see being taught around me now, the second coming of Christ has almost been pushed to the side of Catholic teaching and thinking. There are a few explicit mentions of it in the Mass, but the Mass is primarily concerned with the Eucharist and the Gospel (and so it should be–don’t get me wrong on that), but I’ve long felt that Catholics have almost “given up” on the idea of Christ returning. It has been a long, long time, from a human perspective.
A priest told me, about 20 years ago (when I used to approach the clergy about such matters): “the Kingdom of God is in our hearts.”
I begged to differ, along the lines of: it’s certainly not in the hearts of many people; indeed most people in the world are not even Christian; and, anyway, what of all the prophecy about the end of days, the chaining-up of Satan, the long era of peace, the resurrection of the body and all that? He said that the language was symbolic and that it was meant to be read in context. I got the idea that not all of those prophecies were actually expected (no trumpet, no darkening of the sky, no “unless those days were shortened”, etc). Some things might happen, as predicted, but others might not.
I love the Requiem Mass (especially the Latin version–I often read the text and listen to Mozart’s Requiem–just stunning) with all its beautiful–and terrifying–imagery of the last days, the resurrection, its pleading for mercy and its bursting with hope.
I’m a Resurrectionist: the whole foundation of my theology is the resurrection of Christ (oh, to have been a “fly on the wall” in that tomb!) and the hope of the same process being applied to my own hopeless body one day. Otherwise, I have nothing apart from (at best) another 50 years of futility.
I know I may be convoluting different things here (Christ’s resurrection, my resurrection, the second coming), but I feel that they are closely related: Christ’s resurrection becomes the promise of mine, and this occurs when He returns to put an end to suffering and death once and for all. Does that sound reasonable?
What about you? Do you worry or wonder about the second coming of Christ or the resurrection of the dead? Or should we just wait and see?