November 12, 2019
In a few weeks, we will be coming to the end of our liturgical year and begin the season of Advent. During this time, our readings will centre on the theme of the ‘end times” where there will be the final judgement of God on all creation. This thought can provoke fear in each of us, particularly after reading Luke’s gospel of Jesus speaking of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and how there will be wars and insurrections, disaster and persecutions that will first take place. After all, the temple was a sign to the early Christians of the presence of God. This gospel account was written a decade after the actual destruction of the temple. Therefore, the listeners of this message must have believed the end of the world was imminent. However, these messages were coming not from God but from others who claimed they knew when the end would be coming.
The world continues to exist today even with these same events happening around us, i.e. climate change; war; natural disasters; nations polarized by political strife; technology that is dehumanizing the planet. Today, we can listen to the ‘false prophets” in our midst claiming that the end of the world is coming and live in fear because of these messages. We can also listen to the prophet Malachi in our first reading to “fear the Lord” and believe that God’s plan is greater than any force on earth. Jesus echoes that message centuries later by concluding that you need not be terrified. “Not a single hair of your head will be forgotten. By your endurance, you will gain your souls”. God’s love through Jesus’ death and Resurrection is the final victory over eternal death.