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Jesus' Second Coming

by Brant Pitre May 08, 2019 0 Comments



In John 14:1-3, when Jesus begins to tell the disciples that he is going to die, he says this to them:

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Now what's he talking about, I'm going to my father's house to prepare a place, and when I come back I am going to take you to myself? Well again, in ancient Judaism it was a custom that the bridegroom had as one of his duties to go and prepare a home for his bride. And when you would marry a man in ancient Israel, you would go and become part of his family.  You would go to his family’s land, his tribe’s land, and become part of his father's house.  So here Jesus is using the imagery of bridegroom and bride, but he is saying to the disciples, I'm going to prepare a place for you and then I am going to come back and take you to myself. And when, pray tell, will he do that? Turn the page (page 3)…the second coming, the end of time. 

Now you might be thinking, “well wait up, hold on Dr. Pitre, it's been a while since he left, like about 2000 years.  So what’s the holdup? I mean why hasn’t he come back yet?”  Have you ever wondered that? That is a good question, no?! Why hasn’t Jesus come back? If he loves us so much and if we are his bride, why doesn’t he come back? Well, as you will see in just a minute, if the Eucharist is the re-presentation of what happens at the Last Supper, then Christ comes to every Mass to be with his bride, but his glory is hidden under the appearances of bread and wine.  He is fully present at the Mass.  He is not going to have one more drop of power and majesty at the Last Supper than he has when he comes in that host, but the difference is that we can't see it; it's under the appearance of bread and wine.  However, there will come a time when he will come in glory, but he's not going to do it until the bride is ready.

And in the book of Revelation 19, that's how John describes the end of time, as the wedding supper of the Lamb.  Again, I don’t have time to go into this in a lot of depth -- I have a whole chapter in the book on the end of time as the wedding, but this is really important. Most people, when they read or think about the book of Revelation, they think about the tribulation, the antichrist, the final judgment, and those are all part of it, and they are an important part of it. However, the reality of the fact is that the book of Revelation ultimately doesn't end with those things, it ends with a wedding. Revelation 19-21 is the wedding of the Lamb and his bride, the wedding of Christ and the Church. That's the end of the story.  When I was an English major at LSU, we learned the technical differences between a tragedy and a comedy. A tragedy ends up with everyone dead on the floor, like in Hamlet, but a comedy, like in Much Ado About Nothing or All's Well That Ends Well, what do they always end with? A wedding, they end with a wedding. The Bible is a divine comedy because it ends with the wedding of Christ and the Church. 

This is what St. John tells us about this wedding and the apocalypse — which by the way, literally the word apocalypse in Greek means unveiling.  Apokalupsis, the unveiling of the bride. That's how the story ends.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Pause there for a moment. Notice what John is saying here. The wedding supper, the eternal wedding at the end of time, has finally come because the bride has made herself ready. Now think once again about an ordinary marriage. As a general rule, who takes longer to get ready?  It took me like four seconds.  Hair’s done, I'm ready for my wedding.  But my wife (I remember this) and her sisters — she has like five sisters — they went out and for four hours they did their hair. I am like, “it is hair, what can you possibly do for that long?”  But, the bride must be ready.  And then again, when you get to the actual wedding ceremony, I remember standing up at the front of the church, waiting for her to come in, and what's the big moment at the wedding.  What is the moment that's the most powerful? It's when the bride comes in isn’t it. We all know what she looks like, but every head turns, every neck cranes, the doors open, the music comes, because it's her hour now, because she's coming in in her glory and in her splendor and in her beauty, and everyone turns to see her. Why? Because that moment is a little foretaste of the end of time. That moment is a little foretaste of what Christ desires for his bride.  He is not going to reveal his glory until it's time for her to show hers.  And she has to be dressed in her wedding dress, her beautiful white linen garment. What is her white linen garment made of, John tells us? The righteous deeds of the saints.  So see, until every last saint has passed through this valley of tears, her dress isn’t ready yet.  And only when the last martyr drops that last blood on the last day will the bride be made ready, and then the bridegroom will come.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”…Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…

And that is how the story ends. Have you ever been to a really beautiful wedding feast, like a really holy marriage? Have you ever tasted that joy of that night of the union of the bridegroom and the bride? Multiply that times infinity and it's just a shadow of the joy of heaven, just a shadow...

Brant Pitre
Brant Pitre


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