for Sunday, November 18, 2012
Although we do not generally spend a lot of time thinking about the end of
the world or about what will happen when the world ends, there are times
when such thinking is more common. When we came to the year 2000, there
was much speculation about the end of the world. Today, people are
concerned about December 21, 2012, when the Mayan calendar ends. At other
times, there have been other dates that were seen as the end of the world.
Obviously, my world ends when I die - at least in some sense. For those of
us who believe in eternal life, the world does not end nor do I end. At my
death, my own world is transformed. For all of us, this physical world as
we know it will end some day, whether we are here or not. This is not some
esoteric belief, but simply the facts that relate to physical matter.
The concern in the Scriptures today has two points: that everyone will be
judged and that how we live now is important for the world to come.
We hear first from the Book of Daniel about some kind of judgment or
decision about those who have died. Some will awake, some will remain
asleep and yet others will rise to a more terrible fate.
In Mark's Gospel today, the image is different. An angel goes and gathers
all the elect. The fate of the non-elect, if there are any, is not spoken
Sometimes we forget that our actions now are in some mysterious way related
to our life after death. Salvation is entirely a gift of God and yet the
way that we live is still important. If God is every day inviting us to
live His life and we are consistently refusing that invitation, why should
we think it will be different in eternal life? If God is inviting us and
every day we try to live His life, this is our goal.
God wants us. It is as simple as that. God invites us daily to accept His
love. All of the literature about the end of the world and about judgment
can be reduced to this: God wants us. God invites us to choose Him. If
we try to respond, then our world is transformed. It does not matter if
the world ends today: we are already with God.
We could conclude with the Letter to the Hebrews. We have a High Priest
now who actually pardons sins: by one offering he has made perfect forever
those who are being consecrated. Let us pray that we may be among the
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Daniel 12.1-3
Second Reading: Hebrews 10.11-14, 18
Gospel: Mark 13.24-32
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: