July 1, 2008
Ascension celebrates his going up to heaven, but now we must focus about his coming down at the end of the world as we know it.
Today's gospel lesson gives us part of our lord's farewell prayer as he bid good-bye to the apostles after the last supper.
Before his prayer he spoke to his friends about his leaving. Christ said, "I go to prepare a place for you ... And I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, you may also be."
Jesus said, "I will come again."
On the day of his ascension, Jesus took his friends to a mountain and rose up before their very eyes.
They looked up as a cloud embraced him and took him from their sight.
Still they gazed heavenward. Finally two angels appeared and said to them: "you men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven?
This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go..."
What did the angels say? They said Jesus shall come down again. The Nicene creed expresses this belief in the coming of Christ. The creed tells us about:
God the father, god the son, and god the holy spirit. Of god the son, it tells of his birth of the Theotokos of his crucifixion under Pontius Pilate,
Of his resurrection on the third day according to the scriptures of his ascension into heaven, where he sits on the right hand of the father.
Then the creed states:
"and he shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.
What does the creed say? "he shall come again..."
When a believing Christian dies and is carried to his resting place. The priest seals the grave, praying:
"this grave is sealed until the second coming of Christ." what does the prayer say? The tomb of the deceased is sealed until Christ comes again to raise the dead"
It seems quite clear that our lord shall come again to earth.
The first time he came in all humility and poverty, born in a stable, with few people aware of his advent:
The second time he shall come in all his glory and greatness, heaven poured out with him, and everyone shall be aware of his coming.
Why will Christ come? This is a significant question.
He will come to raise the dead, and then he will judge mankind. The resurrection of the dead is the cornerstone of Christian belief. Without this happening and belief, our faith is in vain, useless and without merit to fret about it.
Jesus said, "Because i live, you shall also live." the resurrection of Christ is spoken of as the "first-fruits" gathered from the grave, pointing toward the "great harvest' that shall come in the resurrection on the last day.
Christ will also come to judge. We will have to render an account of our lives to him. He will give to each person his/her due reward.
+ Fr. George Papadeas
“Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle.” - Thessalonians 2:15