The world has been in existence for many years and we are told it shall come to an end. We look forward to a new world to come. When it will happen, it is only God who knows.
When we read the New Testament (in the Bible) we see that Mathew, Mark and Luke tell us about the end of the world. The signs of the end of the world: earthquakes, wars, tribulations, floods, etc. These are experiences of our times. Just one example – wars: French soldiers have bombed Northern Mali and Libya and went home to a hero’s welcome; Russians have bombed parts of Syria and they can pound their chests for a job well done. Now things have turned around: a plane full of Russians is brought down from the sky over the Sinai desert in Egypt and ‘those responsible’ celebrate quietly; bombs and shootings in various parts of France saw the death of more than a hundred people and ‘those responsible’ can say, “We have paid you back in your own Euros.” Are these happenings part of the signs of the end of the world? Can any good come out of these unfortunate situations created by ourselves? These incidents may bring anxiety to some Arabs, French and Russians to the extent that they may ask: is the world coming to an end in our days?
This was the question that some of the close followers of Jesus asked him when he had talked to them about his imminent death and destruction of Jerusalem, including their beautiful temple (Mark 13: 24-32). Before we go into the question of the time the world will end I want us to examine some chaotic situations we see in many parts of the world: floods in Haiti, violent demonstrations in USA, South Africa and Egypt; refugee crises in Africa and Europe, storms in Asia – an American can easily say, “what the hell is going on?” These chaotic situations should make us go back to the first book of the Bible (Genesis 1 and 2) where we see God creating what is good out of chaos. How we long for this to happen now!!!!
For us today, we are waiting for a new world which will come to be at the second coming of Christ. A new world of peace when a “child will play with the serpent and will be unharmed;” “the lion and the sheep shall lie side by side,” “Jerusalem shall be a joy and its people a delight,” “Dry bones shall come together and have flesh and spirit.” This new world will reverse the chaotic situations we find ourselves in. This being our belief we cannot but eagerly long for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Some of his followers thought the second coming would happen in their life time. St. Paul was one of these. When will this happen? Jesus has said that only God knows the time.
A look at the first reading (Daniel 12: 1-3) of today tells us about the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds. There will be distress for those whose names are not written in the book of salvation; but for those whose names are written, they “will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in values, as bright as stars for all eternity.” Daniel himself is presented to us as “a handsome man, intelligent and wise, quick to learn and prudent in judgment.” The new world to come shall be ours when we make our own these virtues Daniel acquired.
The opportunity is given to all people when Jesus offered himself for the salvation of all. The letter to the Hebrews (10:11-14, 18) tells us that Jesus’ one perfect sacrifice has ushered in a new era of sacrifice of the mass. It is by celebrating the mass that we bring back to being the one sacrifice of Jesus – his life, sufferings, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit. It is like going to one supermarket where we can buy all our needs instead of going from one shop to another.
As we come close to the end of the Church year, we are encouraged to reflect on how we have lived out our Christian values over the years and most especially since last (December) year. We are convinced that Jesus has offered his life for our salvation. So our belief and hope in the new world to come enable us overcome difficult situations as we go on our life’s journey “until we find rest in our God.”
Let us pray:
“Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin, and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen