I am the A and the O, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Rev 22,3)
When does the fulfillment of time take place? At the time of the founding of The Christian Community this was a topic of debate among theologians: has the end time started, or is it still to come? When Jesus prophesied the end of days, did he mean something that was to come soon? Did he mean something that had already been fulfilled in the form of the Church? Neither of these pictures corresponds to our present experience. If Jesus literally meant that time would be fulfilled through his death, then his predictions were wrong. If on the other hand we look at our current experience of reality, we can’t say that all the tensions and problems of history have been resolved.
Oscar Culmann (1902-1999) coined the term “inaugurated eschatology”. This means that the end time has already begun in the present, but will only gradually be fully developed. We know that a flower bed in which we have sown seeds is different and needs to be treated differently than the neighbouring bed into which nothing has been sown. Such an idea has the power to change our lives: the most normal, everyday events bear within them the potential of fulfillment.