Jesus speaks in today’s gospel passage about the infamous “END OF TIME.” What do you make of that?
All that you see here—
the days will come when
there will not be left
a stone upon another stone
that will not be thrown down.
Our autumn time meditation on “the last things” continues. “The end is near” is a recurring theme throughout the New Testament. St. Paul is very insistent on the point and only backs off from it in his later writings. The Lord comes to judge the Earth with justice proclaims our responsorial. Our end, then, will come with judgment, just to make us even more nervous about THE END.
The Book of Malachi that was supposed to prepare us for the Gospel has the last day coming “blazing like an oven” to make all evildoers “stubble” and to “set them on fire.” With all of the “doom and gloom” signs that surround us from wars without and division within (including but not necessarily emphasizing the doom and gloom 2016 presidential election campaigns), it is very tempting to read the signs of the times as warnings that THE END may be near. But if I were you, I wouldn’t purchase a ticket on the next available commercial space tour to watch the end of the world—just yet.
A little bit of research reveals that what Scripture is referring to as “signs” and “the end” are to be understood as apocalyptic. That is to say, these scriptures refer to a typical prophetical view that recognizes God as “The Lord of History”—all and everyone’s history for all times! In this manner of speaking and understanding, one could be referring to “the end of history” as it is perceived at the time or the end of all history. So when prophets speak of “the end,” they are almost always doing so to simply undercut and put emphasis on a far more significant message:
So all is NOT lost. Even Malachi throws us a bone: But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with the healing rays. And Jesus assures us: By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
So after we have understood that Scripture is not to be misinterpreted superstitiously, we must nevertheless tap the reality factor and admit that “I do not know the day or the hour of my own reckoning,” so I absolutely should be vigilant and prepared. I should shape up! There you have it.