daily biblical sermons

And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Thursday, 34th Week of the Year, November 28, 2019
Daniel 6:12-28, Daniel 3, Luke 21:20-28

Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding at what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25-27).



Today we actually hear recounted for us the coming of the Lord on a cloud with power and great glory – the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at the end of the world. We have only two more days left of the liturgical year, and at the end of the Church year we also think of the end of the world and the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in great light upon the clouds of heaven to consummate all things and to bring in a new heavens and a new earth, for “we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).



This is our focus now in our daily Mass and in the divine office during these final days of the liturgical year. But what meaning do these events have for our life today? In any meaningful work that we do, we need to have a clear idea of the goal of our work. We need to know what the final product will look like and what it is supposed to do. We also need to know why we are doing this work and what good it will do for us and the world. Otherwise we cannot work in an intelligent and meaningful way, and we will produce nothing of worth.



It is the same with our life of faith as believers in Jesus Christ. We need to look at the final goal or end of the whole project of salvation history that the Lord began with Abraham to whom he first began to reveal himself and his plan to save the world by the Messiah, who would eventually come from Abraham’s seed. Therefore even the Old Testament looked forward to the final triumph of God’s plan of salvation. And today Jesus himself tells us about his glorious return at the end of this present world to create a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  



Knowing this end of salvation history, we understand what we are supposed to do in this world as believers in Jesus Christ. We are to work towards this final end of Christ returning in glory and majesty on the clouds of heaven in great light so that the dead might rise in their bodies and that those who are still alive at that time might be changed and glorified to live with Christ forever on the new earth under new heavens in righteousness and heavenly peace.



But before this happens, there will be great persecutions and calamities. First of all, Jerusalem will be destroyed and its inhabitants killed or taken captive and dispersed throughout the world. There will also be many wars. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:10-11). Looking around us, we can see that most of these signs are taking place now. Great wars and bloodshed have taken place on earth.



Christians also will be persecuted. “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:12).



What should we do in these troubled times, when there is even trouble within the Church of God itself, and at the highest levels of the Church, where many are trying to lead God’s people astray with false doctrines, telling them to disobey God’s normative biblically revealed moral law and falsely telling them that God whispers in people’s ears another moral law that contradicts his normative biblically revealed moral law, and that it is this other law, which is custom-made for each person, that we should follow. We see this happening in our own day right now within the Catholic Church itself at its highest levels.



We also see this same gross immorality being taught in the secular world, for we see gay pride parades, rainbow flags, and people marching and proclaiming that we should partake in abominable deeds such as homosexual sex and that men may “marry” other men, and women may “marry” other women; and that men may “become” women, and women may “become” men, that it should be legal to kill yourself (assisted suicide) and kill off your elderly parents who are a burden to you (euthanasia), that women may murder their children in their womb and that abortion should be legal so that people can have sex whenever and with whomever they want and then simply abort the children that are conceived of such immoral unions.



We are even being told by our Catholic Church leaders that in certain cases people can divorce from a valid marriage and “marry” someone else during the lifetime of their first spouse and have an active sexual life with this new partner and still be accepted as Catholics and Christians in good standing, welcome to receive the Eucharist as often as they wish without repenting and intending to immediately stop sinning and amend their life.



Such are the days that we are now living in. These are the moral calamities that we are witnessing both in the Catholic Church and in the world around us. This is what we are to expect at the end of the world, when the Lord comes again to set all things right and to reward with eternal life those that are saved and to punish those that rebel against him, “for the Son of man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27 NKJV).



But when the time comes close for the Lord to return, there will be still more amazing things. There will be extraordinary signs in the heavens that will terrify people. “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). These things are still future. We have not seen them yet, but when we do, “then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27).



When we see these final most fearsome of all signs in the heavens itself and when “men [will be] fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:26), then we can take heart that the Lord’s return is near, for “when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).



This, then, is God’s salvation-historical plan for the world. This is what it is all aiming toward. There will be much conflict, apostasy, heresy, false teaching, persecution of the just, and upheavals before the Lord finally appears in power and glory, coming on the clouds of heaven in great light with all his holy ones. So we should not expect to have an easy life without seeing evildoing and evil teaching all around us and even within the Church of God itself and among its highest leaders, falsely leading us into sin, falsely telling us that God wants us to live in constant objective mortal sin and that he won’t consider it as sinful in our case, because he is merciful and sees that we are in a difficult life situation and that it would be too hard for us to keep his normative biblically revealed moral law. So he leads us on an easier way, allowing us to live in a constant state of objective mortal sin, but does not count it as sinful in our case, since he himself is the one that is leading us to live in sin as an easier way of living. This is how many of our highest Church leaders are now falsely leading us in these final days, which we are now in.



But God has foreseen all these doctrinal and moral calamities in his Church, and he will protect his elect. Then on the day of his return, the weeds will finally be separated from the wheat and cast into the furnace, while the wheat will be gathered unto the Lord, for he “will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).



There will be a day of reckoning, and those that remain faithful will be rewarded, while the wicked will be destroyed. We can look forward to this, for we shall all see it, whether we are alive in the flesh or after our physical death, while we are alive in the spirit, for “Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).



On that final day, “all the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as the leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree” (Isaiah 34:4). Then will the prophecy of Daniel be fulfilled, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man … And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13, 14).



Let us meditate on these things during these final three days of the liturgical year, for it will set our faith in the larger salvation-historical panorama of God’s saving plan for the world.


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