Let’s start a look at the final chapter, “Dies Dierum,” and we’ll begin by looking at “Sunday (as) the Primordial Feast, Revealing the Meaning of Time.”
This is the most brief of the five chapters. After this chapter (DD 74-80) we have only the conclusion ahead of us.
But in this post, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, and consider just “Christ the Alpha and Omega of time,” as this section and the next are titled.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that the Third Millennium was approaching and people were waxing eloquent (and otherwise) on it. Saint John Paul opens this chapter with a quote from his 1994 apostolic letter:
74. “In Christianity time has a fundamental importance. Within the dimension of time the world was created; within it the history of salvation unfolds, finding its culmination in the ‘fullness of time’ of the Incarnation, and its goal in the glorious return of the Son of God at the end of time. In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, time becomes a dimension of God, who is himself eternal”. (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente 11)
We count through the millennia. I suppose some of us hope the Incarnation isn’t the true center, temporally speaking. However long the ages to come will stretch, we know we will have Christ with us.
In the light of the New Testament, the years of Christ’s earthly life truly constitute the center of time; this center reaches its apex in the Resurrection. It is true that Jesus is God made (flesh) from the very moment of his conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, but only in the Resurrection is his humanity wholly transfigured and glorified, thus revealing the fullness of his divine identity and glory. In his speech in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia (cf. Acts 13:33), Paul applies the words of Psalm 2 to the Resurrection of Christ: “You are my Son, this day I have begotten you” (v. 7). It is precisely for this reason that, in celebrating the Easter Vigil, the Church acclaims the Risen Christ as “the Beginning and End, the Alpha and Omega”. These are the words spoken by the celebrant as he prepares the Paschal candle, which bears the number of the current year. These words clearly attest that “Christ is the Lord of time; he is its beginning and its end; every year, every day and every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and Resurrection, and thus become part of the ‘fullness of time'”. (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente 11)