Friday, August 30, 2013
The Great Disappointment : Obsessing About The End Times
This leads me to my main point which I wish to espouse here. We know neither the day nor the hour (cf. Matt. 25:13) when Christ will come, as we heard in the Mass readings today. Often, I grow very tired of various movements and sects proclaiming the imminent end of all things - from the most outlandish and fake televangelists and fundamentalists to even serious thinkers, the "end times" seems to be a hot topic of discussion.
But, if one surveys the history of the Christian faith, it always has been. The early Christians wrote in a decidedly apocalyptic tone - we have only to read the New Testament to know this. Many saints speak of their age as the final age, the most sinful age, the one in which the imminent return of Christ surely will occur because the world, as it were, has become intolerable, much like the world in which Noah lived. Every age speaks to a seeming triumph of evil over good, and this seems to naturally lead many into thinking that their age is the last age.
Here is my view on the subject - we know neither the day nor the hour of the return of the Bridegroom (cf. Matt. 25:13). The end is surely near for us as individuals, as our lifespans are exceedingly short. My life could end in five minutes or fifty years from now, and I will find myself before God in order to face judgment - and thus, my life will have ended.
But as for this obsessive worrying and fretting over the end times - this is a mistake. Salvation is not dependent on our knowledge of when the end of all things will occur, nor on some secret revelation from heaven concerning it. Certainly, we must watch for the return of Christ, and be prepared for His return - this is a demand placed on us throughout the Scriptures, and indeed it is healthy to always meditate on the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell). But we must not sit idle and wait for a date and time that some prophet or seer somewhere has deemed to be the exact time of the Second Coming and the end of all things.
To do so is to take our gaze off of Christ and to set it on worrying about a specific date or to obsessing about signs and cries that Christ is over here or over there (cf. Mark 13:21). To do this is to sever ourselves from living the Christian life now, to merely sit idly by and twiddle our thumbs in waiting. Christ Himself hints at His being delayed - in this, as we have seen, many will say He is not coming, that Christianity is a lie, and just another false religion full of false prophecies.
But as for us, let us keep our lamps burning and be on the watch, but let us not be idle nor listen to the words of false prophets and charlatans. Christ will return when He returns, and will do so precisely when He means to - this will happen regardless of any so-called seer's prophecy about some random date when the world will end. Instead, let us always be ready to meet Christ at any moment, always endeavoring to be "blameless and pure" (Phillipians 2:15), thus ensuring our preparedness to meet the Bridegroom.