Catholics/Second coming

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Question
Will Christ return physically in his second coming or will he reign from heaven?

Answer
First we need to clear up some definitions and concepts.

To suggest that Christ is going to "return" is a bit of a misnomer.  Christ is not "returning" to Earth because Christ never LEFT the Earth.

Now, I know right away that you will point to the Ascension and say "But Christ went 'back' to heaven."  YES he DID---however so did we.  Christ's Ascension into heaven is the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice that humanity offered to him on Good Friday.  That sacrifice is now taken to heaven to be in the eternal presence of the Father. However, since Christ is ALSO human, humanity likewise sits in the presence of the Father.  Christ's presence on Earth has been veiled, but not taken away.  

The "second coming" is not so much a "return" of Christ, but the unveiling or revelation of his Glory. His "first" coming was a coming in humility and a coming recognized through the eyes of Faith.  His "second" coming will now be a coming in glory.  Christ now comes as judge and this "coming" will be one that is unmistakable.

This coming will indeed be physical.  Remember however that in Christ heaven and Earth have ALREADY been joined--thus Christ reining in heaven is Christ reining on Earth and visa-versa.  When we pray for Christ's "kingdom to come" in the "Our Father" what we mean is that we want him to usher in his Kingdom in it's fullness.  Currently Christ reigns on Earth vicariously through his presence in his Body which is the Church, and Catholics believe his presence in the Sacraments.  In fact for Catholics the Sacraments are signs of God's presence on Earth and signs that heaven and Earth have been joined.  How else could God work through material things if it is not joined to him?  

The Second Coming is physical---but Christ has already come--and is here with us---we are simply awaiting the revelation of Christ as judge, and Christ as King--the unveiling of the fullness of his presence on Earth.  

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Father Dave Bechtel

Expertise

I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.

Experience

I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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