On this final Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church turns her mind and heart to the contemplation of the end of the world. Here she accepts the teaching of Jesus that the world as we know it is passing away, that here we have no lasting city, but seek a home that is yet to come. She confesses her faith in the Last One, Who is the Lord of the Last Things, Who will come again to our earth.
At His Second Coming, our traditional Gospel today teaches us, the Lord will come openly and in glory, with the sign of His Cross in the sky for all to behold. He will come again not in the weakness and poverty of His Sacred Nativity in the manger of Bethlehem, but in the regal victory of His Resurrection and Ascension. He will come not to save us – He has done that already – but to judge us, consummating His beautiful work of salvation. In His First Coming, He came to sow; at the end of time, He comes to gather.
We have a tendency to fear the Second Coming of Jesus. For one, we know our sinfulness and how unworthy in ourselves we are of His Mercy. For another, we are attached to the pleasures of this life and wish not to lose them. The conquering of these fears is the blessed work of Jesus’s coming into our hearts by grace, which applies to us the salvation He won for us in His First Coming, so that we can be eager for His Second Coming.