In the name of the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen!
The Second Coming of our Lord, God, & Saviour Jesus Christ.
Today the fifth Sunday of holy lent, our church commemorates the second coming of our Lord, which is called Debre Zeyit or the mount of olives. It is named after the mountain our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ preached of the end of the world and His second coming. This mountain is situated on the eastern side of ancient Jerusalem, and is a mountain ridge with three peaks, offering spectacular views across Jerusalem and in particular, the old city of Jerusalem.
The Mount of Olives is associated with Christian and Jewish traditions and is named after the olive trees that previously adorned its slopes. During the First and Second Temple Periods, in particular, the mount was a location of great significance and was the center of life in Jerusalem. Still today, the mount is considered a place of holy significance and location of pilgrimage.
One of the most striking aspects of the mount is that it served as a Jewish cemetery for more than 3,000 years and has around 150,000 graves. Many Biblical references are also tied in with the Mount of Olives; it is also considered to be the location where God will redeem the dead (and the Jews believe all those buried on the mount will be resurrected) when the Messiah returns on the Day of Judgment. Our Church also teaches us the Lord will come back to this mountain to reveal His second coming.
Our church never ceased from reminding her children about the second coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The second coming of Christ is always preached during holy liturgy and in our private prayers. In the prayer of our faith, the creed, we conclude with these words, "We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” The end of the world and the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is specially commemorated three times in our church, one being at the beginning of November, second at the end of the geez year before the beginning of the new year and third on this season of holy Lent specifically the fifth Sunday.
For a lot of us thinking about the second coming of Christ is not enjoyable. In fact, it is a scary thought because it reminds us of our death and many of us wouldn’t not like to think about our death. The reason why we are not fond of thinking of the second coming of our Lord is because we only focus on the judgment and punishment aspect of it and not the glory we receive.
So why is it so important for us to be reminded of the second coming of Christ?
First, it is so that we don’t lose hope in the trials and tribulations that would befall us in this world. I once heard in a sermon this great analogy about why we should always put our gaze and hope on the second coming. Say you have a child that is going to start preschool for the first time. On his/her first day, the child is afraid, and might cry because this is uncharted territory. The child might feel like he/she was abandoned by his/her parents.
But it is temporary, the parents will never forsake their child, they will come back to pick up the child soon and take him/her home. It is the same for us, even though life is tough and we go through so many hardships, our Father who is in heaven will come back to take us with Him, which should give us hope and joy.
You see we are all sojourners and guests in this world. We were never meant to be left here forever. The people in the Old Testament believed that, “We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” (1 Chronicle 29:15) This also applies to us Christians in the New Testament. Our Lord consoled His disciples before His ascension into heaven saying, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know" (John 14: 1-4).
This promise kept the apostles and the disciples bold in the face of adversary and motivated them to be faithful servants. His words, “Yes do not be afraid, I will be with you till the end of times” gave them courage to withstand even death (Matthew 28:20). Our Lord is coming, which means we ought to be ready, so we can get ourselves in line with His will to enter the heavenly wedding feast that awaits those who kept their faith. In the early church, where the tribulation, persecutions, and trials were many, the only hope that kept the faithful from denying Christ was the promise of our Lord coming back to take them to the place He prepared before the world. Our churches pray saying, “Maranatha,” which translates to “Oh Lord Come” in Greek. “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelations 22:20). Our late fathers yearned and longed for the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the first reason why we should gladly wait, faithfully toil for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The second reason is so we can live with God, the heavenly hosts who triumphed against all adversaries and sin. The heavenly kingdom as Saint Paul explains is what awaits us after the second coming of our Lord. The “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9" ). Imagine a life where our food will be praising God, where we don't need food to sustain us, where we don't need light to guide us, where every day we live in awe of God's magnificent nature and more. No need to worry about life, wars, pestilence, and pandemics, where we live like angels. We can only experience this life with the second coming of our Lord.
The third reason why we should toil and live towards the second coming of our Lord is that this world whether we like it or not will pass. Saint John warned us in his 1st epistle 2:15-17 "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." If we only knew the price that was paid for our souls and know and trust that the One who bought us will come back to collect His precious souls we would await in hope and faith for our Lord's coming. In Matthew 16:26 our Lord says, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Finally, we ought to be vigilant more than any other time in history. Our days here on earth are numbered and the Lord's second coming is imminent. We are all afraid and now realize we have no power. Our lives might be taken away in an instant. Let us not wait, every second is a precious gift given to us to return to our Master and loving Lord. We are told by Saint Peter in his second epistle 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Let us pray that we get time for repentance, that God has mercy on us to return to Him and to see His beautiful temple again to worship and have communion with Him. As we say in our Holy Liturgy, “Come and receive the free gift given to us by God.” Amen, Lord Jesus Christ come!
Glory be to God, Amen!