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Credo 28: He will come again in glory ...

Friday, September 07, 2007
In many of his parables Jesus taught his disciples to live towards the future. They were to be faithful servants, busy with their work, but always ready and alert for the moment when the master of the household would return. Life is to be lived fully in the present but always also with an orientation towards what is yet to come. Christians live within this tension between the present and the future. Each time Mass is celebrated we say that are 'waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ'. The acclamations after the consecration of the Mass illustrate how the mystery we celebrate belongs not only to the past and to the present but also anticipates the future: 'Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again', 'When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death Lord Jesus until you come in glory'.

During his trial Jesus provoked the wrath of his accusers by referring to himself as the Son of Man who would come in glory on the clouds of heaven. In this he was identifying himself with his Father's purposes and with the promises of the Father for the future of Israel. He was saying that these purposes and promises were being fulfilled in what was happening to him - that God would take what was happening to him and make it to be the definitive revelation of the glory of God.

The glory that is to be revealed - a glory of light and life and love, a re-shaping of the earth and a shaking of the world to its foundations, a revelation of God's holiness and the radiance of those who belong to Him - all this is already mysteriously revealed in the glory of the crucified one. Already we have seen his glory, St John says, the glory that is his as the only Son from the Father. What we have come to, the Letter to the Hebrews says (and it seems to be referring to the Christian community gathered for the Eucharist), is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with innumerable angels gathered for the festival, to an assembly where everyone is a firstborn citizen of heaven, to the spirits of just people made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, to the sprinkled blood, to a judge who is God of all.

We are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future - when he comes again in glory - has not yet been revealed. Now we see in a glass darkly - in mystery, sacramentally - but then face to face. When he comes again in glory we shall see him as he really is. And in seeing him we shall become like him. If we have shared in his sufferings then we will share also in the glory that is to be revealed.


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