The Gospel of the Day – 2015.11.29 (Sunday)
The End of Days?
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’ (NJB)
The Trouble with Prophecy
The authors of Luke report that these are the words of Jesus. In so doing they place lies in the mouth of their friend and their teacher.
Jesus never spoke about the end of the world, because Jesus spoke the truth, and he did not seek to motivate with fear, but with love.
When the sun spends the last of its nuclear fuel; that will be a sign of the end of the world (billions of years from now).
If the moon were to slip in its orbit, that would be a sign of the end of the end of the world (the world as we know it).
The stars are in fact so distant from us, that what happens with them can have little to do with what happens here, but before our sun burns itself out, our galaxy will collide with another, and that will radically change life on this planet (billions of years from now).
God, the creator of the universe, made us, our world, and our universe free. God does not interfere, or intervene in our lives and our choices. Because that is true, the only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents that are present in reality, right now.
We can predict global warming; because it is happening, and the antecedents for it were laid down decades ago.
Just as we can predict the continuation of wars, terrorism, and economic injustice, they are present realities, and matters of statistical certitude.
We can predict these things, not because God has decreed that these things will come to pass, but because we have.
The only liberation we will have from the vicissitudes of this life, will come at the end of. God will not stretch out God’s hand to save you from any danger.
Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape your faith.
They are liars.
God wills that you live a life without fear, and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.
To the extent that any of us are drunk, or debauched, it is certain that we will pay for it in your own ways; through the loss of monies, the loss of opportunities, the loss of friendship, the loss of dignity.
These habits, (the nature of sin itself), is not that they are traps that will prevent you from reaching your ultimate destiny. They may frustrate you in this life (to one degree or another), but they will not separate you from God. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something.
The first Sunday of Advent