When precisely is the world coming to an end? When it comes to an end, how will the world end? Our Christian faith teaches that the world in its present form will end, then a new world- a new earth and a new heaven (Rev. 21:1), will replace it. We profess this doctrine in the Creed we recite on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation: "I believe....in the life of the world to come." So what events will precede the end of the world? How will the world as we know it now come to an end? Jesus addresses those questions in this Sunday Mass Gospel reading, Mk 13: 24-32.
Speaking in apocalyptic language, Jesus says when the time comes, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be coming from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." There will be great cosmic signs that will precede the coming of the Son of Man in glory. These signs will indicate that Jesus is "near, at the gates." Yet, he says in Mk 13:32: "but of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Since no one knows the exact time when all will end, it is a useless effort to speculate. So instead, let's learn a lesson of watchfulness and attentiveness from the fig tree. What we should be doing is staying firm in our faith, staying vigilant. We see enough from the time of Christ to this present time that the Son of man "is near, at the gates. "That is the message about the end-stay vigilant in living the faith. Be persistent in prayers, practicing virtues, and deep love of God and neighbors. Staying awake in these ways is all that matters in the end.
In His hope,
Fr. Bernard, OP