The End that Matters
There is a familiar adage which says, “Everything that has a beginning will have an end.” This year’s liturgical calendar ends next week. There is a time to come and a time to go. There is a time to start and a time to end. We can, therefore, say that nothing is permanent.
Is this world going to end one day? The answer is YES. The end of time is one phenomenon that is unsettling for many people. Many people are so troubled by it that they become paranoid. The truth is that the world will end, but nobody knows exactly when that will happen. The world began from God and will end in God. Hence, God is the real end just as He is the ideal beginning. We ought to focus on God because the world belongs to Him and He alone will determine its end.
The Gospel Reading (Luke 21:5-19) presents us with a more fearful description of the end of the world. Some people were admiring the temple and all the beautiful things in it. They were admiring the adorned external elements of the temple and our Lord calls their mind to order and instructs them:
“All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
This statement is an indirect way of saying that there will be an end to everything including all the great and beautiful things of the world. The people expressed their amazement over what they considered impossible; that is the destruction of the temple.
This discussion led Jesus to give his disciples an instruction not to fear:
You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.
The fundamental truth is that there will be an end of everything. But there is hope because while there will be destruction of the visible, there will also be the salvation of souls. Most of us would agree that a serious student will be more concerned about reading well and studying in order to take care of any approaching examination, thus ensuring success. From the Christian life point of view, we may see that many people are worried about the end of the world instead of being concerned about living good Christian lives. Sometimes those who live disorderly lives are afraid of the end because they do not have good works to show.
The words of Jesus are not meant to make us fearful about the end which will come at God’s own time. It is rather an invitation to us to continue to live good lives and bear good fruits. It is an invitation to us to persevere no matter the situation that may be confronting us. It is an invitation to us to know that while everything visible will end, something will remain; namely our souls. It is an invitation for us to be like the good student who is more concerned about reading well than the fear of the approaching examinations.
As we gradually move to the end of this liturgical year, may God give us the grace to be more concerned about living good lives and producing more deserving fruits than looking for a sign and wonders especially about the end. The real end of everything is in God, and if we remain in Him we shall be saved.