As we’ve all heard from a variety of sources, there was a surge of speculation that December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world. Even though this idea has been around for some years, it’s nothing new. I wrote about the last infamous day of May 21, 2011 last year, but we all know that the day came and went for most of us.
While the group that promoted the last one was relatively small, there was a larger population that believed that this day really could be the day. This is probably because it was associated with the Mayan calendar. They were able to do astronomy and math at a level centuries beyond the Europeans, and that was more credibility for some people. Although, even many descendants of the Mayans weren’t worried, because they knew it was only the end of the space on that calendar.
What about Jesus? What does our God have to say about the apocalypse?
“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
– Matthew 24:42
As Christians, we believe that Jesus was more than just a great promoted of love and peace – He is God.
“Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will Come again.” We also believe that when He does return again, it will be the end of this age. We know this from our tradition and scripture. Matthew, in particular, speaks of the end at a greater length than the other Gospels.
Now, if we look back at that full chapter 24 of Matthew, we hear Jesus speak more in-depth of end of times. We hear of false prophets, difficult tribulation, and the certainty of surprise.
Jesus also gives us an interesting perspective of the mystery of the Trinity and the Incarnation, when He assures us that not even He knows when it will be.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
– Matthew 24:36
Then there is one line that always brings up questions. If what Jesus is saying is true, why has this not happened yet. Didn’t Jesus tell some of his day that a fall would come within the generation?
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
– Matthew 24:34
Many people look at this and then hold this as proof to disbelieve everything else he said, since obviously the world has gone on for thousands of years later. For some, if Jesus could be wrong about the biggest thing for humanity, then He could be wrong about everything else.
This argument could make sense if it were true, but this is looking at the verses in scripture out of context. If we look at the conversation that Jesus is having, the promise of the generation is not yet about the end of the world, but the fall of the Temple. History shows us that this happened in 70 A.D., and they were never able to be rebuild it.
Jesus left the temple area and was going away, when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings. He said to them in reply, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
– Matthew 24:1-2
Jesus then goes on to talk about the end of the age for all in a reassurance that nothing of this world is permanent.
Jesus was and is right, and He will return. We are sure of this. Just don’t worry too much about the day.
Regardless of the end of the entire cosmos, our personal end is always near. Many never see it coming, and even fewer really feel ready for it come. The element of surprise is the perfect inspiration to live ready.
In the last chapter of Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us of the beautiful prayer “Maranatha.” It can mean “Our Lord has come,” or “Come, O Lord,” depending on where the space is in the phrase. This prayer seems almost frightening, but the holy father reminds us that this is what we’ve been waiting for since the Accession of our Lord.
If we live in the love of the Lord here in this age, then we can look forward to eternity with the lover of our souls.
Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus, Come! Do not delay.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let the hearer say, “Come.” Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.
– Revelations 22:17
I invite you to join me on this challenge for the final days of Advent. Take time to be intentional about living in the hope of His return. This could be manifest through confession of our sins in the sacrament, and amending our sins with our brothers and sisters where we can. Tis the season to be jolly, and peace has no better than than through forgiveness.
Blessed last days of Advent.
Recommended Reading: What Jesus Really Said About the End of the World by David B Currie
Recommended Listening: Beauty of Truth Podcast Ep 17 – What is Advent?