Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Have you heard people say, ‘I’m sure these are the end times!’? Most of us have. People who say this are familiar with the Gospel we hear today from Luke 21:5-19. In it, Jesus is speaking of the coming destruction of the Temple, the heart of Judaic worship, which would indeed happen about the year 72 A.D. But He also seems to be speaking of the times before the ‘end of the world.’
Wars, insurrections, nations rising against another, powerful earthquakes, famines, plagues, awesome sights and mighty signs that will come from the sky are all mentioned in this Gospel, which Jesus describes as happening ‘before the end.’ He also speaks of persecutions that will happen because of His Name. We are seeing these things in the daily news, and much worse—corruption of the good, gender confusion, unspeakable crimes committed by parents against their own children and a seeming loss of understanding of what is right and what is wrong. These are plagues that are tearing down families, schools, cities, even the moral fiber of our own country, and they all seem to point to a destruction from which it may be impossible to recover the good, the true and the beautiful. We might feel as though these threaten the very existence of the world, as God’s justice may soon be upon us for our disregard of His Plan for us. Thus people feel that these are surely the end times of which Jesus spoke.
We should remember that Jesus also said, beware of those who say “The time has come.’ Not because such people are bad, but because no one can know the day or the hour when the end will come (Mark 13:32, and Matthew 24:36).
From the time of the early church we have been taught that the Lord Jesus will come again. We refer to this as the Second Coming, when Jesus will come upon the clouds to judge the living and the dead. There are references in Scripture that remind us of this final judgment, this Second Coming. It will be an alleluia day for those who have been faithful, and a sobering one for those who have not. This is often what people are referring to when they speak of the End Times.
As we come to the end of the Church Year (it culminates with the Feast of Christ the King on the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent) we will be hearing in the readings about the end times, specifically the Second Coming of Jesus, in the first readings at Mass taken from the Book of Revelation. This is not to bring gloom and doom into our hearts, but rather to remind us to prepare for the great and glorious day when we will stand before God to receive the reward of our labors. We who love God and trust His word look forward with longing to the ‘day’ when we will be with Him in heaven. We must surely prepare for that day by fidelity to His Word, to the commandments and to His Church, but not with fear and trembling. Ours is a loving God who created us to be with Him eternally after a life of fullness in knowing and loving Him. Will that day be soon for you or for me? Who knows? Will the world end suddenly next week? Who knows? Is God sick of us and preparing to destroy us? THAT we do know is not His way. Let those who say these are the End Times simply be a reminder to us that we must all be ready for Him. None of us can allow ourselves to fall prey to the senseless way of life we see around us, but neither should we throw up our hands in despair asking ‘What difference does my life make if it’s all going to be destroyed by an angry God?’ Rather, let us live in hope, giving example to those around us by our peaceful trust in Him and by our sincere efforts to be ready for the day of days when God will reveal Himself to us as He is—whenever that may be. Until then, let us say with perfect love,
Come, Lord Jesus!