Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

msgrliptak tnQ. About “Judgment Day”: What does it actually mean? Is there any reference to it in the Bible?

A. From the Bible as read by and within the Church, the death of every person is followed by two judgments: the Particular Judgment and the General Judgment.

The General Judgment is the one portrayed by Michelangelo on the sanctuary wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. “Judgment Day” is primarily associated with this latter judgment; i.e., the “Last Judgment” or “Final Judgment,” although the Particular Judgment (the one immediately following death) is also properly referred to as “Judgment Day” for the deceased person.

The Biblical text most often linked with the doctrine of the Last Judgment is Matthew 25:31 sqq. Therein we read about each person’s being judged by Christ. The text reflects a parable spoken by the Lord. Hence the human being does not judge himself or herself; rather, it is Christ who becomes each person’s adjudicator. This Last Judgment should be understood in the context of the completion of the world and of all human history. And it also must be seen as related to the Parousia and the Resurrection. (Parousia is the Greek term for Christ’s Second Coming; one theologian suggests the word here should emphasize its inner sense of “saving presence,” i.e., the saving presence of the Risen Lord Jesus.)

Besides “Judgment Day” (a rather common expression in Scripture), the Last Judgment is also called “the Day of the Lord,” “the Day of the Son of Man, or simply “that Day,” or the “last Day.” See Amos 5:18-20; Is. 2:2; 13:6; 1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; Lk 17:24; Phil. 1:6; Jn 6:39; etc.

The classic Biblical text for the Particular Judgment is the parable about Lazarus and the rich man (usually called Dives, from the Latin for “rich”).

Note that this passage indicates that a deceased person’s judgment has already been declared by the Lord. See Luke 16:20. Also, see Hebrews 6:2.

 Of course “Judgment Day” is a metaphor. The Last Judgment(s) occur(s) outside of history as such; in fact, it happens after human history is completed. God’s time falls under kairology, not chronology. But that’s an entirely different subject for study. “Day” is a noun whose meaning lies within chronological perspectives. “Chronological” refers to earth time; God’s “time” is not constrained or defined by it.

Q. Is it permissible to receive Holy Communion twice on the same day?

A: First, Church law, reflecting Church doctrine, not only allows but encourages reception of Holy Viaticum, known as Communion, while in danger of death, twice on the same day. See Canon 921, Para. 1.

Second, Canon Law also permits reception of Communion again to anyone of the faithful who participates in Mass a second time. Thus any of the faithful who attends a second Mass may receive Communion again. No additional “permission” is needed; the Code is clear. The Code of Canon Law, in the original Latin, employs the word iterum, which is often translated simply as “again.” See Canon 917. But “again” has been formally interpreted by the Vatican as “twice.”