Creation, Redemption, and Parousia

In Level II of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the children have been learning about the moments of the history of the Kingdom of God.

The first moment we talk about is Creation, where we describe all the beautiful gifts of God in the natural world – minerals, plants, animals, and humans. We distinguish the ways humans are different from the animals, beings with intellect and reason and capable of love. This distinction gives us the ability to use our hands and minds to take these gifts of Creation to create new things with them, as God allows and wants us to cooperate and participate in His plan for the Kingdom of God.

The second moment we talk about is Redemption, where we talk about the moment God gave us the greatest gift of all: Jesus and His Risen Life. (We speak about this gift of the Risen Life of Jesus and how we enter into it through the Sacrament of Baptism in another presentation in Level I and Level II). We talk about how this moment permeates all space, and how right now we are in this moment of Redemption. Before the next moment, there is an unknown length of time of waiting, a sort of blank page that we are able to write on with our actions because God gives us the choice to cooperate with His divine will.

What are we waiting for? The third moment in the History of the Kingdom of God: Parousia. In this moment, time as we know it will end when Jesus returns. Parousia is an ordinary Greek word meaning the arrival of a person in bodily presence, an advent. It is used often in the New Testament, particularly by St. Paul. It took on a special connotation in the early Church to mean the presence of Jesus. Today, it is most often used to refer to the bodily return of Jesus in the Second Coming, but it is also used to refer to His veiled physical presence here and now in the Eucharist! In this final moment, God will be all-in-all. We ponder throughout the year what Parousia may be like and discuss later how Jesus is already present in the world in the Eucharist, and yet how we still await for the ability to see Him in all His glory in the moment of Parousia.

Connection to the Liturgy:

In the Mass, we are able to see how the gifts from the first moment of Creation, wheat and grapes, are transformed into bread and wine through the participation of man (“fruit of the vine and work of human hands”), which are then offered to God the Father. In the consecration, they become the body and blood of Jesus for our Redemption. This veiled presence anticipates His final coming in the Parousia.

Adult resources:

Eschatology: the Expectation of the Parusia – Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter’s Square, 12 November 2008

The Real Presence as Parousia – With Scott Hahn on the Road to Emmaus Podcast

Parousia: The Bible and the Mass Video Study