The traditional Scripture Readings for this particular Sunday always have to do with the end of the world. Now you’re probably aware that the ancient Mayan calendar (plus numerous other prophecies) predict that the end of the world as we know it will come on December 21st of this year, precisely at 6:11 EST. Note the careful wording: they’re not saying that the world will end, but the world as we know it will end.
Starting in 1999, say the prognosticators, there were and continue to be warning signs of the coming end. We can expect to see an increase in social and political unrest (?), new and untreatable pandemics (?), unusual weather events throughout the world (?), devastating natural disasters in the most unlikely of places (?) and man-made devastation beyond our wildest imagination (not sure about this). Our economic well-being will decline (?) and our overall feelings of insecurity and mistrust of the world and environment around us will escalate dramatically (?). And for half of America, the end of the world as we know it is definitely coming because of the re-election of the President! I know that last comment is catty, but I can only go by the talking heads and the e-mails I’ve received before and after the election.
Well, how can we handle all this? One, you can go online to the Internet and get all kinds of tips and survival kits. Two, you can wait in mute helplessness. Three, you can believe the scientists who say this isn’t going to happen, and besides, all those checked things above happen all the time. Or … you can quietly and simply realize that the world as you know it ends every second of every day and a new world begins in the very next second. The same thing happens as you go to sleep at night and awaken in the morning.
No one, says Jesus – not even He Himself – knows when the end will come. It is not for us to worry about that. Worrying won’t help. All we can do is to live today in His love and service. It is the present which determines the future; so let’s just concentrate on the here and now. Then we already have entered the Lord’s Kingdom and when he comes to call us to Himself, it will just be a reunion of old friends. As Jesus said so often in the Gospels: There is no reason to fear.
Ad multos annos!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.