Let’s look at Jesus’ coming at the end of time. We can do this by way of the haunting image of Christ found in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. In Revelation 3:20 we read: “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” The Book of Revelation is very much focused upon the Risen Jesus and his coming at the end of time, as the inspired writer John describes it in Revelation 1:7: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7).
If we follow through with this image, we hear Christ knocking at the door at the end of time. We lovingly heed his voice and open the door to his glorious presence. He invites us into the heavenly banquet. Then Jesus, in union with his Father and Holy Spirit, will dine with us and we with him, forever and ever. We have a foretaste of this, moreover, in our present life, as we celebrate Christ’s coming at this time of year, especially in the Eucharists we celebrate. At any moment of our present life, especially during moments of prayer, we can let Christ into our hearts and contemplate our having an intimate meal together.
In closing, however, let’s go back to the heavenly banquet that takes place after Jesus’ final coming, a banquet that God shares with the whole family of saved humanity. As we Catholics believe in the redemption of all things, we can imagine other animals and creatures present in God’s kingdom as well.
When the Word took on flesh in Christ, not only were human beings lifted up to a new and glorious dignity, but all other creatures were lifted up as well. This all happened simultaneously, as it were, at the moments of his Incarnation and birth. Of course, Jesus still had to grow up and—through his life, death and resurrection—bring salvation to all those open to his loving plans.