By Fr. Roy Cimagala
NOW that we are ending the liturgical year, we should not be surprised that the readings and the tenor of the prayers at Masses these days somehow refer to the end times. It’s a good occasion to remind ourselves of this reality, not to scare us but rather for us to be realistic in our life here on earth and learn to prepare ourselves for the end times.
We are told in the gospel that the time will come “when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down,” and that “nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom,” and that “there will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” (cfr. Lk 21,5-11)
To top it all, we are told not be deceived because as Christ said, “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘the time has come.’ Do not follow them!” It would seem that as the end of time approaches, the enemies of God and of our soul would use the most duplicitous tactics to mislead us. So, let’s be properly guarded.
We have to learn to prepare for this eventuality. If Christ, who is God made man and who is our Redeemer, could not help but had to offer his life to save us, how can we think that our life and the world in general would take a different path?
Remember Christ telling his disciples, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (Jn 15,20) So we have to expect to have the same fate as Christ. And that means that we have to prepare for the worst scenario. The world will end badly. That’s already a given, a truth of our faith.
What we have to do is to always have a proper focus in life. Especially these days when we are easily carried away by many distracting elements, what with all we can devour in the social media, videos, etc., we need to remind ourselves quite strongly that we have to be well focused on what is truly essential in our life.
We have to remind ourselves that our life here on earth is actually a testing and training ground for what God, our Father and Creator, wants us to be, that is, that we be his image and likeness, adopted children of his, meant to share in his very own life in eternity.
Everything that we are, we have and we do in this life should be made as an occasion, material or reason for us to attain that God-given goal for us. Everything should be related and referred to him. Simply being on our own and doing things on our own, without any reference to God, is an anomaly. It would surely end in tragedy even if we feel we are having a good time in our life.
This fundamental truth about ourselves should be proclaimed time and time again because we are notorious for taking it for granted, if not for violating it. We have to remind everyone that we have to take the necessary steps for us to be aware of this truth and to live according to it.
Obviously, what is truly helpful in this regard is that everyone learns really how to pray, how to engage God in a continuing conversation, or at least to have an abiding awareness of his presence and interventions in our life.