The End of the World

January 5, 2017

How many books and movies there have been about the end of the world! Some deal with nuclear war, or a zombie apocalypse. All are very depressing. Some of these stories are told from a religious standpoint. One such movie was unintentionally funny. It had Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting the devil at the climax scene. The devil was a pretty good fighter, but, in the end, Arnold did him in.

There are also many books that proclaim the end of the world by a date certain. Be very skeptical of these books, for as Jesus says:

“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!”

And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?

“When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”

Then he said to them,

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

And there is yet more that Jesus says.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name….”

Wow! We’re going have a lot of bad things happen: wars, plagues, and earthquakes. And we’re going to be persecuted! What are we supposed to do in the face of all these horrors?

Jesus says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” In other words, by sticktoitiveness, by doing the next right thing, by staying close to God in the Mass, by being kind, by taking care of the poor, and by living good lives, we will make it.

Here’s the other kicker: we don’t know when the last day will come, either for the world or for ourselves. So we should live as though each day was our last. What would you say to your loved ones if today was your last day? How would you treat people? How would you approach your relationship with God? Here is a reminder to persevere in following God in all we do.

Father Mike Van Cleve

Father Mike is a priest for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.