Parousia: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Commentary on the Gospel according to Luke 21:25-28;34-36
In this first Sunday of Advent, we reflect on the Gospel of Luke 21:25-28; 34-36 which speaks about the Parousia. It is a Greek word which means “a coming”. In this text, when Luke speaks of the Parousia he speaking that it is the second coming of Jesus Christ.
St. Luke in these verses emphasizes on the prophecy of Jesus concerning the end of the world. It is an apocalyptic address of Jesus to His disciples. Jesus is telling them about the cosmic signs: the sun, moon and stars which will be affected. The sun will be darkened, the moon will stop giving light and the stars will fall from heaven. The sea will be tossing and roaring. On that day these signs will be most worrisome for the “world”.
Luke says that these disturbances in the universe will be so intense that they will cause fear or death to the people. Due to their revolt and unfaithfulness to Him they will be punished.
The “Son of Man” is coming in a cloud. The title “Son of Man” is used by Christ for himself. No one else had ever used it for Him. In the Jewish apocalyptic tradition of Daniel, one finds the vision about the Son of Man. It is illustrated in Dan 7:13. Daniel says that the cloud rider is not Yahweh, but “one like a son of man”.
When Luke uses this title the “Son of Man”, he is speaking about Jesus. The people will see the “Son of Man” who will be full of glory.
The Son of Man is coming as the judge of the world. The judgment will take place in the present, here and now. Those who believe in Him will be saved right now and those who do not believe will be condemned here and now. The judgment will come suddenly and it is for this that everyone must be prepared for it.
To believe in Jesus is required now and one cannot wait until He comes at the end of time. They will recognize that the Son of Man was from heaven in the midst of the people.
Another point which Luke wants to emphasize here is to “watch”. It means to be prepared for His coming. And to be on their guard! Luke says that it is a call to get ready because their redemption was drawing near which means that those who get ready in their lives will be saved.
Three specific evils are mentioned Here: dissipation, drunkenness and preoccupation with anxieties of life. But no one knows when the end of time will take place. It shows that the lives of the people certainly will come to an end one day.
He also calls to stay alert and to pray. Prayer will help to avoid dissipation, drunkenness and anxiety. Through prayer, one will be able to receive the blessings of God and stand before the living Lord.
And Luke is saying even to the good and the virtuous that they must be ever on their guard, life has many temptations. He is saying that the sudden coming of the Son of Man will strike everyone, so there is need of continual vigilance. Everyone however, will eventually take part in the Parousia. Those who serve faithfully in life will survive the judgment. They will need not fear the day of Judgment and the glorious coming of Christ will not be a catastrophe for them but will bring deliverance to the faithful.
Sr. M. Marcelline Paul (Warispura, Faisalabad - Pakistan)
December 1, 2018