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Jesus' Two Comings

by Brant Pitre August 12, 2021 0 Comments

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Dr. Brant Pitre discusses the two comings of Jesus and how meditating on the first can prepare us for the second. Subscribers to Dr. Pitre's Mass Readings Explained can find the full video here:


In closing then I would like to just share with you two last thoughts from the living tradition.  One of them is on the difference between the two comings of Christ that we are celebrating during the Advent season.  So during the Advent season we are hoping for the second coming and celebrating the first coming, and St. Augustine had this to say about the difference between the first advent of Jesus 2000 years ago and then the final advent of Jesus, which will take place at some day or hour that we don't know.  St. Augustine said this:

The first coming of Christ the Lord… was in obscurity; the second will be in the sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity no one recognized him but his own servants; when he comes openly he will be known by both good people and bad. When he came in obscurity, it was to be judged; when he comes openly it will be to judge.

So notice what he is pointing out there.  Although the coming of Christ at Christmas and the coming of Christ at the end of time are two comings and they are related mysteries, they are different insofar as one is secret.  The Magi get it, the shepherds get it, but everyone else misses it.  The last coming of Christ is not going to be obscure.  There are not going to be any more debates or doubts about whether he is really the Messiah, whether he is who he claims to be.  To the contrary, like Paul says in Philippians 2, at Christ's second coming “every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  During this Advent season that is something to really pray about.  What is your understanding, what is my understanding of this the mystery of the second coming?  How much of a part of my life do I make it?  Do I live as if that's the case?  Do I live as if that's true?  Do I live in that hope that despite all the evils we see in the world, all the sufferings that we experience, all the sadness we might experience, for example during the holiday season which can be a tough time for people, do I live that season of the year in hope that Christ will come again, not in obscurity but in glory to judge the living and the dead?  That's really the message of the Church for this season.

The second quote I want to give you is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Now you might recall that the Catechism is the official compendium of all of the Church's teachings on matters of faith and morals.  It was published in 1992 by Pope St. John Paul II, and I'll be referring to it over the course of the year.  It is a wonderful resource for the official teachings of the Church.  This isn’t just my opinion, this is the Church's official teachings.  And in this case, the Catechism has a short section on Advent that I would encourage you to read and prayerfully ponder.  In paragraph 524 of the Catechism this is what the Church teaches:

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

That is beautifully put there, “by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.”  So that's why the Church begins the liturgical year this way.  In a sense, she wants to put us back in the shoes of those first century Jews who were waiting ardently and faithfully for the coming of the Messiah so that we, as Christians who confess Jesus to be the Messiah, can renew our desire for his second advent, for his final coming when he will come to judge the living and the dead, and when everyone will recognize him for the son of God that he is.

Brant Pitre
Brant Pitre


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