Monday, December 8, 2014

Night of the last day

The calendar year 2012 was fraught with fear of the coming end of the world, if not also the Day of Judgment, all because an ancient people’s calendar ended on a certain day. To be sure, Christian would-be soothsayers, end times prophets (will their generation never cease?) dinned their warnings in our ears, but all in vain. Neither we fools living at the world’s end, nor the doomed world itself, paid much more than fleeting attention to them. The earth rocked along in its orbit, hiccuping quakes of all richters as if it were traveling a pot-holed dirt road. People continued to marry and parry, oblivious as was the generation that saw Noah build his big boat, that time to their hurt, this to their mocking amusement. But there will be an end, someday. There has to be. Even our star can’t last forever but must one day engulf our tiny patch of the garden universe. Good gracious! And we won’t be there to see it. Well, maybe not exactly.

What? No predictions of doom and gloom for the world this year? Could it be that they who know all else know too that we can’t be fooled by their usual drivel, while we have real ‘here and now’ threats at our earthly gates? The end times audience is by now thoroughly too burned out, perhaps, to even care. With all the others I too was once attracted to their train by those popular writers who penned books like Late Great Planet Earth, filling our minds not with the Word of God as they claimed, but with their self-confident delusions. No reader of history could be taken in, but I was only an amateur, then, and also wanted people’s approval for my Christian views. I didn’t want to be ‘left behind’ and yes, even believed for awhile that fable. Lord, have mercy! How we scamper after tramps and vagrants spouting what they tell as God’s laws, when the Book itself, humbly confirming what is certain—the yoke of Jesus, the love of the apostles, and simple trust in God—can be in everyone’s lap.

Now we find it difficult, because spectacle saturation is so solid, to tell what is true and what is false, even with the unwaning light of the Resurrection shining in Holy Church, when we meet ideas in the world that claim to be Christian and biblical, yet divide where there should be unity, and deceitfully lead faithful but unspiritual people astray. Faithful but unspiritual? Yes, Christians can be both at the same time, as holy apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and like them, become factions in the Body of Christ that uphold false ideas and act on them, as did the Nicolaitans spoken of by Christ in His letters to the churches at Ephesus and Pergamum. Mistaken theology is much worse than a run-on sentence. Its excessive length tires out the vigilant and lulls the indolent, both falling asleep without knowing it, and sometimes becoming impossible to wake up. Thus, the mystery-mongers of Babylon, disguised, lay waste the vineyard.

We are returning by our pilgrimage to the Nativity of the world’s Redeemer, brethren, drawn thither, whether as wise kings migrating with stars, or as shepherds following their sheep after hearing undying song, or even as dumb beasts turning their heads toward the manger from mere hunger. Unremembering what we were before we heard and obeyed the summons, let us withholding nothing of ourselves give all because we have received all, and welcome without hesitation whom God sends. He was, He is, He is to come, and in His presence all ideas like idols fall as He enters the Egypt of this world. Let us follow Him, and abandon all earthly care, as did Peter and the disciples who left their fathers, families and nets, to receive a hundred times more in this world and in the age to come. Though earthly gates may seem to be closing all around us, do not fear. For the gates of Paradise are flung open wide.

And very soon, very soon we will find ourselves inside.

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