Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
The apocalyptic readings we get at the end of the liturgical year are incomprehensible to most people. Some few try to use them to predict when the end times will be upon us. Almost none of the biblical details are meant to be taken literally. If we can borrow from the book of Revelation (14:19), the focus should be on the ultimate message: the world, which is already suffering, will one day disappear, but the “King of Kings” will come to “tread the winepress of the wrath of God,” and everlasting rewards will be given to those who have “washed their robes in the blood of the lamb.” In other words, the object of this literature in general was to square the righteousness of God with the suffering condition of his servants on earth.
Note that Jesus himself said that none of this should terrify us. Luke’s version of the eschatological discourse contrasts those “who die of fright” with those who hear the call to “stand erect and raise [their] heads because [their] redemption is at hand” (Lk 21:27-28). If we do not die of fright, it is because we know ourselves to be children of God. The One who is coming is the same One who came to our world in the poverty of a Bethlehem stable, and who died the death of a criminal outside the city of his ancestors. He it is who knows our pain from the inside, carries our sorrows and overcomes our death by his death. If we dare to raise our heads, the eyes that meet ours are filled with compassion.
Do you fear God’s judgment?
Let Us Pray:
O loving Lord, may every Eucharist that I celebrate and the communion that I have with you deepen my conviction of your loving kindness.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)