Why wasn’t the Catholic Church established 5,000, 3,000, or even 2,500 years ago?
God worked out his plan of salvation to the minutest detail. He knew the precise moment that the Church must be established in order to accomplish the mission he entrusted to it. We might speculate about possible reasons that made the chosen moment opportune. For example, at the time of Christ’s birth there was a single world empire (the Roman Empire), there was a common language (Greek), the Romans established a network of roads for travel and trade, and it was a time of peace. From a human perspective, at no time before or since were conditions so conducive for the spread of the gospel. But in the end we must trust that God, in his infinite wisdom, chose the best possible moment for his Incarnation and the establishment of his Church (cf. Gal 4:4–5).