Are we approaching the end of time?

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Daniel 12:1 - 3

In those days, I Daniel, heard this word of the Lord: "At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book. "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. "But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever."

Hebrews 10:11 - 14, 18

Brothers and sisters: Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.

Mark 13:24 - 32

Jesus said to his disciples: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. "And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky. "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading is a very interesting passage in which Jesus spoke to his disciples about the end of time. With the increasing frequency and severity of the natural disasters in the recent past, people see these unusual phenomena as a sign of the end of the world although scientists have concluded that the real reason is that we have not been taking good care of the environment. We have in fact been exploiting the planet on which we live. This has become a topic of conversation and even concern to a lot of people, whether or not they have a religious belief. People have started making predictions about the end of the world and when it would happen. Indeed, Jesus told us that all these – wars, earthquakes, famines, sufferings, family rising against one another, people rising against people (Mark 13:7-8, 12) – would happen before the end of time. He said “when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near” (Mark 13:29). When we look around, what Jesus said seems to be happening now.

As we can see, despite all the abuses we human beings have collectively done to the earth and to each other, none of the predictions about the end of the world have come true. The people who make such predictions claim to know the future. But they don’t really know because Jesus said “But about that day or hour no one knows …. But only the Father” (Mark 13:32)

At the end of time, the Son of Man will come again “with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26) to judge the living and the dead. When that happens, we want to be among the elect that the Son of Man will send his Angels to gather “from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven”. (Mark 13:27) How may we merit to be counted among the elect? Luke 21:36 tells us how: “Be alert at all times, praying that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man”. We must watch our lives to make sure that we live by the words of Jesus that He promised would not pass away. (Mark 13:31) If we live out the Gospels, if we live according to the teachings of the Church, then we have no fear and may look forward to the end of time with faith and hope.

Meanwhile as we wait in joyful hope for Jesus’ coming in glory, it is quite inevitable that we will have to endure sufferings one way or the other in this world of calamities. Jesus told us that our earthly journey will be so. When we need consolation and grace to see us through our difficult journey in life, we know that Jesus will not forsake us. Let us be reminded of our Lord’s endless mercy and compassion for us in these uplifting verses from the beautiful Chinese hymn “Praise to the Lord’s Benevolence”

“He has not promised that the sky will always be blue,
He has not promised that flowers will always be in bloom,
But He has promised that He will always be benevolent”
Posted: November 15, 2015

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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