Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why St Paul Wasn't Wrong

There's a thought often heard in Christian circles that St Paul was just wrong in his comment that Christ would come again in the lifetime of his contemporaries. We say " well, St Paul was a great Christian, a wonderful evangelist, a righteous man of immense faith, but he just got that wrong. I mean, clearly, Christ didn't come again." 

I think the point at which we start along that type of thinking is the point in which we fall into an error greater than the one we assign to Paul. We remove God from our world. We remove Christ from our world.

That's right... every time we get so worried and worked up about the second coming we forget that for us, Christ may as well return in two weeks, or tomorrow. Or today.

Firstly, we fall into the comfort trap. By pushing the time of the Second Coming further and further into the future- or worse- by selecting the day and hour which Christ will appear ( which is Scripturally impossible), we allow ourselves to become lazy. to put off spreading the Good News, to see evangelization as a less-than-urgent endeavor. The problem with this type of thinking is that today is someone's last day. Today is someone's last chance. It might be yours. It might be mine. It is urgent for each person,

But there's another problem with this type of thinking and this critique of St Paul. This problem is the removal of God from our world. As Catholics we don't believe God has left us alone. We believe that He is here with us in Spirit as we gather and in Flesh every time the Eucharist is celebrated. During Holy Mass, we believe that ordinary substances are radically and miraculously changed before our very eyes into the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior. In our remembrance of His sacrifice on Calvary, He is made flesh again that we may consume Him and be transformed into His Body. We, the Church, His Bride, are here. We are waiting for His return, yes, but we are waiting in anticipation at Holy Mass. It is a foretaste of heaven, a few precious moments where we can glimpse the eternity that lies ahead.

I know that Christ didn't come again during St Paul's lifetime, but I also had an experience recently where I realized overwhelming that He really did come, too. That He really is always coming to us in the Mass. I mean... it's one thing to know something with your head and another to have that moment of clarity, and immense love, and to feel His presence so truly in the Eucharist. St Paul wasn't wrong. Christ comes to us in the Holy Mass every time His Sacrifice is celebrated. He promised us this and He follows through. The urgency of evangelization is not just to spread the word and love of God in the event that Christ returns to Earth tomorrow or next week. No- it's to allow people to greet Him now, because our lives are always better with Him than without. More joyful, more peaceful, more consumed with love. We realize those moments, those glimpses of heaven. Our hearts are truly restless until they rest in Him. Because His love for us is so great. So powerful and we constantly seek Him. We want others to experience that now because we know what it is to be changed by Him.  St Paul was right to be filled with urgency and zeal- because he knew what those who don't know Christ are missing. They are missing that experience of Christ now. 

When you have an amazing friend, don't you want to brag to everyone you meet about that person? About how wonderful they are? How good a friend? Who kind, how compassionate a person? Christ is more than our friend. He is Love. He gave His life for us that we could be with Him. That's news that demands to be shared.

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