Come, Lord Jesus!

One of the books I’m currently reading is St. Paul, a book the collects Pope Benedict’s 2008-09 cycle of Catechesis on (as you might guess from the book title) St. Paul. Among other things I’ve been struck with thus far in my reading is Benedict’s suggestion of how we should pray today a prayer that originated in the first Christian communities: Marana, tha!, Come, Lord Jesus.

The early Christians were praying for Jesus’ parousia, for the final coming. Benedict suggests that “for us today, in our lives, in our world, it is difficult to pray sincerely for the world to perish so that the new Jerusalem, the Last Judgment and the Judge, Christ, may come.” Nonetheless, he believes that there is a “correct and proper way” for us to pray as did the early Christians: Come, Lord Jesus! He explains:

We do not of course desire the end of the world. Nevertheless, we do want this unjust world to end. We also want the world to be fundamentally changed, we want the beginning of the civilization of love, the arrival of a world of justice and peace, without violence, without hunger. We want all this, yet how can it happen without Christ’s presence? Without Christ’s presence there will never be a truly just and renewed world. And even if we do so in a different way, we too can and must also say, completely and profoundly, with great urgency and amid the circumstances of our time: Come, Lord Jesus! Come in your way, in the ways that you know. Come wherever there is injustice and violence. Come to the refugee camps, in Darfur, in North Kivu, in so many parts of the world. Come wherever drugs prevail. Come among those wealthy people who have forgotten you, who live for themselves alone. Come wherever you are unknown. Come in your way and renew today’s world. And come into our hearts, come and renew our lives, come into our hearts so that we ourselves may become the light of God, your presence.

What else is there to say, other than: Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

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