Openness and Confidence at the End of Time
When I was growing up, I often heard that the gesture in many images of Jesus, that is, his raised left hand means that in the year 2000 will be the end of the world. Obviously, it was a mistaken interpretation. Now its 2007 and the end seems to be nowhere in sight. Is it still relevant to discuss and talk about the END of TIME?
In our gospel today, Jesus speaks about the End of Time by means of prophesy of destruction of Jerusalem and he even referred to the some perplexing signs that will precede the end of time. Most often, talks about the End brings out FEAR in us because no one would normally enjoy the sight of death.
Is FEAR the only response and attitude we have in facing the END of TIME. I truly believe Jesus would not even want us to be overwhelmed with fear. Jesus rather tells us “to stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Let me then share with you two positive attitudes we need to have in facing the coming END suggested by Jesus in our Gospel today.
FIRST, the imminent end points not to the coming of God who was absent but to the constant presence of God in our midst. The END is already here, it has already begun, particularly in the moment of our history when the Son of God becomes one like us. Even if Jesus Christ has ascended to be with the Father, he continued to be with us in His Spirit. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist and in every community gathered in prayer God is present there. God is in our midst so we must rather be confident and sensitive of His presence among us. While we are assured of God’s constant presence, we are at the same time being called to be constantly open and to welcome His presence in the ordinary events and persons that come our way. Again, the END strongly tells us to be confident because God is here with us and asks us to be constantly sensitive in recognizing that presence in our midst.
SECOND, faced with the tribulations and perplexing signs preceding the final end that often overwhelm us with fear; the imminent end rather means the finalization of our redemption. What God has promised us in the coming End is not our DEATH and DESTRUCTION but the fullness of life in the presence of God. Then, the END must be a source of our joy and hope amidst the difficult realities of life we constantly experience in this lifetime. Its like taking the comprehensive exams, although it normally draws out the worst fear in us, yet armed with the volumes of books we have read we are joyful and confidently hopeful of passing. Indeed there is real joy and hope in the coming END.
Complemented by the joy and hope of the coming end, our confidence and sensitivity to the presence of God is all the more heightened. The hope and joy of the end of time inspires us more to recognize God in our midst and celebrate His presence. Here we must remember what Jesus emphatically said in the Matthean vision of the Final Judgment: “What ever you do to the least of these you did it to me.” If we have faith, we can even say, his presence among us is more than enough. It is already a joy to love and serve God in our brothers and sisters. Yet God wanted more for us, He wants us to share God’s full friendship and love at the End of Time. Out of His love God come to be with us to inaugurate the coming of the End, and it is also out of the same love that God calls us all back into His embrace for us to enjoy the fullness of life at the End of Time. Again, in with confidence and sensitivity let us be open to God’s presence in our midst while in joyful hope we await His final return in glory. Amen.