As lightening is violent and destructive, so heresies are violent and destructive and since they struck hardest from the east, so hard that they spread out into the west, then yes, the Son of Man may indeed be prompted to come into the west and draw the east back into the Body of Christ. That seems entirely plausible to me.
Could be. But that's not what the Fathers think about the passage:Hilary
: The false prophets, of whom He had spoken above, shall say of Christ one while, “Lo, He is in the desert,” in order that they may cause men to wander astray; another while, “Lo, He is in the secret chambers,” that they may enthral men under the dominion of Antichrist. But the Lord declares Himself to be neither lurking in a remote corner, nor shut up to be visited singly, but that He shall be exhibited to the view of all, and in every place, “As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”Origen
: Or, when they allege secret and before unpublished Scriptures, in proof of their lie, they seem to say, Lo, the word of truth is in the desert. But when they produce canonical Scripture in which all Christians agree, they seem to say, Lo, the word of truth is in the chambers.
Or wishing to point out such discourses as are altogether without Scripture, He said, “If they shall say to you, Lo, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not.” Truth is like the “lightning that cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west.”
Or this may mean, that truth can be supported out of every passage of Scripture. The lightning of truth comes out of “the east,” that is, from the first beginnings of Christ, and shines throughout even to His passion, which is His setting; or from the very beginning of creation, to the last Scripture of the Apostles.
Or, “the east” is the Law, “the west” is the end of the Law, and of John’s prophecy. The Church alone neither takes away word or meaning from this lightning, nor adds aught to its prophecy.
Or He means that we should give no heed to those who say, “Lo, here is Christ,” but shew Him not in the Church, in which alone is the coming or the Son of Man, who said, “Lo, I am with you, always even to the end of the world.” [Matt 28:20]Chrysostom:
As He had above described in what guise Antichrist should come, so here He describes how He Himself shall come. For as the lightning needeth none to herald or announce it, but is in an instant of time visible throughout the whole world, even to those that are sitting in their chambers, so the coming of Christ shall be seen every where at once, because of the brightness of His glory.
Another sign He adds of His coming, “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” The eagles denote the company of the Angels, Martyrs, and Saints.Jerome:
By an instance from nature, which we daily see, we are instructed in a sacrament of Christ. Eagles and vultures are said to scent dead bodies even beyond sea, and to flock to feed upon them. If then birds, not having the gift of reason, by instinct alone find out where lays a dead body, separated by so great space of country, how much more ought the whole multitude of believers to hasten to Christ, whose lightning goeth forth out of the east, and shines even to the west? We may understand by the carcase here, or corpse [πτωμα], which in the Latin is more expressively ‘cadaver,’ an allusion to the passion of Christ’s death.Jerome:
If then any one assert to you that Christ tarries in “the desert” of the Gentiles, or in the teaching of the Philosophers, or in “the secret chambers” of the heretics, who promise the hidden things of God, believe Him not, but believe that the Catholic Faith shines from “east to west” in [p. 821] the Churches. (Ops! )Augustine,
Quaest. Ev., i, 38: By the “east” and “west,” He signifies the whole world, throughout which the Church should be. In the same way as He said below, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, of heaven,” [Matt 26:64] so now He likens His coming to lightning, which uses to flash out of the clouds. When then the authority of the Church is set up clear and manifest throughout the whole world, He suitably warns His disciples that they should not believe schismatics and heretics. Each schism and heresy holds its own place, either occupying some important position in the earth, or ensnaring men’s curiosity in obscure and remote conventicles.
“Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there,” refers to some district or province of the earth; “the secret chambers,” or “the desert,” signify the obscure and lurking conventicles of heretics.
But you know, it's good you mentioned the "east as source of all heresies" myth. People complain that some Orthodox seem to still hold a grudge on the Crusades, but RCs still have an even bigger prejudice with that. Truly, for all the period of the Byzantine Papacy, during which the popes came from the Byzantine court and could only be elected with the approval of the Roman Emperor, the Roman see fought bravely against the imperial heresies. What Western culture failed to see then and still fails to see now is that the cause of the widespread of such heresies was not because they "came from the East". The popes who fought them also came from the East. The cause was the overcentralized and authoritarian power of the emperor, and the reason why Rome was free to fight it was because although de jure
in the Empire, it was already de facto
outside it, and this fact certainly did not escape the intelligence of the Greek Popes. For the entire period the Greek popes fought imperial heresies, what we have is a once brilliant but now relatively small city resisting the might of authoritarian rulers - which *is* the glory of Greek and Western history after all. Yet, when the popes turned to the Caroligean kings recreating an empire in the West, they created an authoritarian monster just next door, one that could not be so easily ignored as the distant Basileus. And to beat the authoritarian monster, it became a bigger authoritarian monster. This transformation lasted the whole medieval age and the new "improved" communion is the thing we witness at the beginning of the Renasaince.