The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 18th November 2012

Each time we come to this time of the year we hear about the end of the world.  I suppose part of the logic behind this arrangement is that we are drawing close to the end of the Church’s liturgical year.  Very soon we will be beginning a new year as we enter the season of Advent.  While it seems clear that the first Christians expected Jesus to return in glory sooner rather than later, we continue to await his return (often referred to as the parousia).
There are two things in particular that, for me, stand out in relation to the end of the world.  Firstly, there is the fact that we, generally, like to plan out our future.  We tend to make arrangements, fix appointments and organise meetings. We do this carefully to avoid clashes and to ensure that we can get either maximum participation or maximum productivity.  We do this in view of what we want to do after the appointment, as a result of the meeting and because of the arrangements.  We simply cannot do this in relation to the end of the world.  Everything is ending – there is nothing to prepare for.

This gives preparing for the end of the world a very particular nuance.  It cannot be compared easily with other types of preparation. I think that this is because what we are talking about here is not one event among many.  What we are dealing with here is something definitive.

Secondly, there is more than one way of looking at the end of the world – we can consider it to be about destruction and calamity, or, alternatively, we can think about it in terms of fulfilment, consummation and transformation.  To think in terms of destruction does not seem to be easily reconciled with the constant themes we find in the teaching of Jesus throughout the gospels. The gospels reveal a God who is concerned with our welfare.  In them we see a God who continually calls us to growth – true growth.  We also see a God who is focused on conversion and transformation.

Our world will end. That seems clear.  However, there is no reason to suspect that the end of the world will be the end of everything.  God, who has maintained a loving relationship with us, is not, I believe, going to destroy us.  But neither is God going to leave us languishing. The end of our world will certainly involve pain and distress – change generally does – but it is another step towards a transforming and transformed relationship with the Father.

Article posted on 17th of November 2012

Click here for a printable version of this page
Web Analytics