Catholic World News News Feature
Why Christians long for the Second Coming: Pope explains November 12, 2008
Christians should not long for the end of the world, Pope Benedict XVI told his regular weekly audience on November 12. But the faithful should pray for the return of Jesus-- even knowing that his Second Coming presages the end of the world-- because "without the presence of Christ a truly just and renewed world will never come."
The Holy Father summed up the proper attitude toward the question of the end times when he concluded his Wednesday audience with a prayer:
Come, Lord! Come in your way, in the ways that You know. Come where there is injustice and violence. Come into the refuge camps of Darfur and North Kivu, in so many parts of the world. Come where drugs dominate. Come also among the rich who have forgotten You and who live for themselves alone. Come where You are known. Come in your way and renew today's world. Come also into our hearts, that we too may become light of God, your presence.
The Pope devoted his November 12 audience to an exploration of St. Paul's teachings on eschatology. He pointed out that in the First Letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul lays his emphasis on the positive aspect of the end times, when "we will be with the Lord forever." But in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians the Apostle brings out the "negative events that will precede the end," including the period of apostasy and the rise of the Antichrist.
Christians should face the prospect of the Parousia with a sense of realism, the Pope said. Death and destruction are realities, but the light of Christ illuminates all such darkness. "Without Christ the future is dark even today," the Holy Father noted, adding that "Christians know that the light of Christ is stronger."
In expectation of the end times, Christians must "work to ensure this world opens to Christ," the Pope continued. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, he observed, St. Paul depicts the Christian community praying for Christ's return: "Maranatha! Our Lord, come!"
"Of course we do not want the end of the world to come now," the Pope said. But we pray for Christ's return because "we do want the world of injustice to end, we do want the world to change, the civilization of love to begin, a world of justice and peace to come, a world without violence and hunger."