All posts tagged: last judgment

The Last Judgment is the Real Reason for Advent

At the beginning of this past week, I asked my students in all three sections of my Theology 100 course, “What is the reason for Advent?” Those who responded said that Advent prepares us for a joyful remembrance of Christmas. Not one of my 104 students connected Advent with the Second Coming of Christ. When told of the relationship between the Last Judgment and Advent, one student asked why then do we put the season of Advent before Christmas? As if she was asking, “Why do we put a penitential season before a joyful season?” That question was a perfect segue into our class discussion on Father Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit who was executed for high treason on February 2, 1945, for being a member of an anti-Nazi resistance group. While awaiting execution, Delp wrote a few meditations on Advent, on its profound message of hope for Christians during difficult times. He approached the season as a time not only to remember Christ’s birth but also to awaken in us the responsibility to participate …

The Urgency of Salvation

The final chapter of the Book of Isaiah describes how Israel will draw all nations to itself, redeeming the entire human family. The nations of “Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan” (present-day Spain, Libya, Turkey, and Greece) will hear for the very first time about the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob (Is 66:19). Members of the tribes of each of these nations will stream toward Jerusalem, the holy mountain. Not only will they worship God as the people of Israel do but “Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD” (Is 66:21). Those once outside the covenant will become those responsible for priestly ministry of this covenant. Yet, in the Gospel of Luke, a starker story is told by Jesus: “‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough’” (Lk 13:24). Jesus is noting that there are many attempting to enter into the Kingdom of God, milling about in front of the …