“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach
As our Liturgical Year comes to an end, our Gospel today (Luke 21:5-11) reminds us that the world too will come to an end one day. When pressed for a precise time as to when this date would come, Jesus had this to say:
“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! 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.vNation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place;vand awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky."
Much of what Jesus says in this passage was meant to foreshadow the destruction of the Temple, which came to fruition in the year 70 AD at the hands of the Roman Army. But against the larger backdrop, the second coming, who amongst us hasn’t felt at some point or another that the end was near?
In his 1903 Encyclical entitled “E Supremi,” then Pope (now Saint) Pius X tells us that “the victory will ever be with God…of this we are assured in the holy books by God Himself...”
This was Pius X’s first opportunity to address the faithful from the chair of the supreme apostolate to which he had been elevated, and although he pulls no punches as it relates to the sinfulness of man and the alarming, disordered state of the world at the time (the tensions that would ultimately culminate in World War I were beginning to percolate), his was a message of hope. He would go on to say:
“Verily no one of sound mind can doubt the issue of this contest between man and the Most High. Man, abusing his liberty, can violate the right and the majesty of the Creator of the Universe; but the victory will ever be with God - nay, defeat is at hand at the moment when man, under the delusion of his triumph, rises up with most audacity. Of this we are assured in the holy books by God Himself. Unmindful, as it were, of His strength and greatness, He "overlooks the sins of men" (Wisd. xi., 24), but swiftly, after these apparent retreats, "awaked like a mighty man that hath been surfeited with wine" (Ps. 1xxvii., 65), "He shall break the heads of his enemies" (Ps. 1xxvii., 22), that all may know "that God is the king of all the earth" (Ib. 1xvi, 8), "that the Gentiles may know themselves to be men"(Ib. ix., 20).“
For us therefore our concern should not be rooted in matters pertaining to the when and how. For us it is about preparation, readiness, and repentance.
Those who abide by the Commandments, glorify God and his Son Jesus through the frequent Celebration of the Mass, those who are charitable and loving towards their neighbor and yes, those who consecrate themselves to our Blessed Mother by way of the Rosary and profound intercessory prayer have nothing to worry about.
Where does your hope reside? To whom do you belong? These are the questions to ok see as we rapidly approach the Advent Season, a time of repentance, reflection and of course joy. For the one in whom our hope resides, the one to whom we belong, is coming.
“Let the countryside exult, and all that is in it,and all the trees of the forest cry out for joy,
at Yahweh's approach, for He is coming,
coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with saving justice, and the nations with constancy.” Psalm 96:12-13)