A woman was hurrying home from work. This was her night to play bingo. Suddenly she noticed a young man standing on the edge of the pavement holding a sign which read; THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR. She went up to him and said, “You say the end of the world is near.”
“That’s right,” he replied, to which she asked, “Are you sure?” The man replied, “Quite sure.” The woman said “And you say it is near.” “Yes,” said the man.
The woman pressed him, “How near?” The man replied, “Oh, very near,” to which the woman asked, “Could you be more precise?” “This very night,” replied the man.
The woman paused for a moment to reflect on this. Then in a voice full of anxiety, she asked, “Tell me, son. Will it be before or after bingo?”
The world in which we live is a very uncertain one. It appears that one crisis follows another and this uncertainty can cause fear and anxiety. In the midst of this we need something solid to rely on and we know that there is only one thing, our faith. In today’s Gospel account Jesus tells us, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
This is all we have and it is all we need. The assurance that all things are in God’s hands and that God’s plan for us and for our world will be fulfilled. In the end, good will triumph and Christ will reign as universal king. And we will have the joy of reigning with him in eternal life.
Many people have made the claim that they know when the end of the world will be. Some claim a special revelation from God and others claim to have calculated it from the Bible. All such claims should be ignored.
Today’s Gospel reading gives us a timely message about the end of the world. Jesus tells us that no one knows when the end will come except our heavenly Father. And when it comes to the end of time as we know it, we should be hopeful rather than fearful. God created us for salvation, not for damnation. As Jesus said, “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him.”
Faith gives us the conviction that the world is not heading towards final, irreversible catastrophe. Nor is it headed towards mere ending. The world is headed towards fulfillment. By his Easter victory Jesus has triumphed over evil and death.
Our response to all of this is to remain steadfast in our faith, to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the living out of the Gospel. This, and only this, assures us that we will share in his final victory, for he said, “Behold, I make all things new. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be that one’s God, and that person shall be my child.”
— Fr. Dennis, November 18, 2018