Lent is a time to think more seriously about the deeper aspects of life. One of the more neglected areas of theology is eschatology, all those issues involved in Christ’s Second Coming and the world to come.
Eschatology is an important part of our faith. Every Sunday, in the Creed we state either “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end” OR He “is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”
One of the earliest Christian prayers is “Maranatha!”, which is Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) and translates as “Come, Lord Jesus!”
St. Paul fully expected the Second Coming in his own lifetime. St. Paul wanted badly to go to Spain so that he could complete preaching to the whole world, thus ensuring the prompt arrival of the Second Coming. However, St Paul’s geography was not very good, and there was a lot more to the world than he realized. Now, twenty centuries later, we know that the Gospel has been preached all over the world. But we also know that there is a great deal more to the universe than what ancient peoples realized.
Will the Gospel be taken to other planets in other star systems? To other galaxies? Are there other intelligent, self-reflective creatures in need of the Good News and salvation? Our understanding of the universe is so vast, so mind-boggling, that it is hard to comprehend. If “all things were created through Him” as we say in the Creed, what part does the rest of the cosmos play in salvation history? Is all that enormous space and material spiritually irrelevant? Will it all somehow be redeemed as St. Paul tells us (cf Rom 8:22)?
In any case, we know the day of judgement is coming for all of us, and probably much sooner than the Second Coming of Christ. Gifted with the Holy Spirit, we look forward to that day, not with dread, but with the hope of redemption and reward. Come, Lord Jesus!