Third Sunday of Advent

The World is Coming to an End! One of my favorite bumper stickers which I saw years ago said, “Jesus is coming soon. Look busy!” Although meant to be humorous, it contains an element that runs through much Christian thought about the second coming of Christ: He is coming back and He is not happy.

There has been for centuries, especially in America, the fundamentalist Christian thought that, when the end comes, there will be a rapture, that the faithful people – 144,000 – will be whisked up into heaven, while sinners are to be left on earth behind to await the final tribulation. Jesus and his armies of angels will come to destroy the Satan and all his agents – the evil people left behind. Then the good will descend back to the earth for a peaceful 1000 year reign prior to the final judgement which will herald the end of the earth. This is utter nonsense, although books have been written on it, HBO has a TV series about it, and whole religions are built on this mistaken theology.

On Monday night, Faith Food and Fellowship will be discussing where this interpretation came from and how it differs from the Catholic understanding of the Book of Revelation. Suffice to say that it emerges from an erroneous use of scripture. But one thing is true: the world is coming to an end. Not the planet earth; it has a few billion years yet to go before the sun explodes. No, the old world that is ending, that must end, that John the Baptist warns us about, is the world inside me. This life of mine must be re-formed. I hear the prophet call me to look inside, to see what needs to change or be left behind, to be transformed.

The season of Advent is all about the world of sin, or waywardness, or, of life apart from God coming to an end, and well it should. Jesus is coming soon! And that is good news, for He brings with him the grace to make all things new.

Fr. Jim