The End Is Always Near

With three states voting to redefine marriage, an impending contraceptive mandate, increasing tensions in the Holy Land, and the end of the Mayan calendar, the apocalyptic tenor of the liturgy for this last week of the Church year can excite us into a frenzy. Is Christ coming this year? Is this it?

A simple search for “end times” will reveal what a preoccupation the Last Days are. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins published a whole series of novels about what it would be like for those Left Behind. They even provide a handy timeline. And it’s not only Protestants, but there are also Catholics who see the events of Revelation unfolding around us.

In all of this frenzy it is easy to forget the Lord’s words to the disciples: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mt 24:35-36).

The Venerable Bede, whose Explanation of the Apocalypse Br. Leo drew on for last year’s series, “Opening the Book of Revelation,” wrote in his Letter to Eusebius that in Revelation “God was pleased to reveal by words and figures the wars and intestine tumults of the Church.” Those tumults will not come only during the final persecution, but are an ever-present reality of the Church’s existence.

Christ warned the disciples that “they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name” (Mt 24:9). In the Beatitudes Jesus taught, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me” (Mt 5:11). He also prepared them saying, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22).

We have no reason to expect anything other than persecution. It is what the Lord warned us of, and it is at least in part what the apocalyptic imagery of Revelation is all about. Rather than seeing this or that event as a sign of the Second Coming, let’s live life always prepared to meet Our Savior and ready to face the persecutions of this age.

Image: Henryk Siemiradzki, Nero’s Torches Leading Light of Christianity

You May Also Enjoy:

Holy Hatred Do I not hate those who hate you, abhor those who rise against you? I hate them with a perfect hate, and they are foes to me. (Psalm 139:21-22) With the anniversary of the martyrdom of the second-century Roman priest St. Valentine coming up, we hear a lot of talk about love.  But what about hate? The Psalmist, in one of several passages excised from the Liturgy of the Hours, shows forth his utter contempt for the enemies of God.  At ...
Opening the Book of Revelation (XIX) Chapter 20—Salvation History Re-presented The revelation to St. John continues with a vision of Satan being bound by an angel. The saints then reign with Christ for a thousand years, after which Satan is released for a final battle in which he and his supporters are definitively defeated. Then comes the judgment. The question that faces the alert reader is whether this material is to be read as a continuation of the visions in the preceding...
Jesus in the Qur’an Christians may be surprised to learn that the Islamic holy book—the Qur’an, written in the seventh century A.D.—portrays Jesus as a major prophet. In fact, the name "Jesus" appears in the Qur’an about thirty-five times. But the reverence for Jesus in the Qur’an does not amount to the worship that Christians render. Given the importance of the disagreement, it’s worth examining some of the Qur’anic texts that mention Jesus. The Qur’an affirms t...
Reuniting Scripture and Tradition Francis Martin and William M. Wright, IV, The Gospel of John. Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. The Second Vatican Council called for greater access to the Scriptures for all the faithful (Dei Verbum 22), insisting that Scripture should be “the very soul of sacred theology” (DV 24). Despite this exhortation and others like it, for many years there was a dearth of resources that not only explained the Sc...
Br. Clement Dickie, O.P.

Written by:

Br. Clement made first profession in the Dominican Order in 2010. He graduated from James Madison University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and worked for three years at the Bureau of Labor Statistics before entering the novitiate in 2009. On