Many people avoid speaking about the end of the world. Countless movies depict the collision of planets, wars, the extinction of life. Some folks get nervous thinking about what will happen when Jesus returns.
Folks were nervous 2,000 years ago. They asked Jesus “What is going to happen? What signs will there be?” Perhaps that’s why horoscopes are popular. That’s the reason that people see a fortune teller. Unfortunately, that’s why some folks use a Ouija board. We are curious about the future, and we forget the importance of the present. We sometimes fast-forward to the end of a movie because we do not have the patience to sit through the whole story. We cannot fast-forward on life. We make appointments and then come disappointments. Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans. Just when we think that we have all our ducks in order, along comes a setback and our plans are ruined. Our life is very fragile. We hang on by a string. Time should never be taken for granted. But we do take much for granted. All that we see, everything we own, the people we call friends. Jesus said, “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.” The basilicas, the pyramids, the mountains—will all turn to dust. Nothing earthly will give us complete happiness. That’s why we keep our eyes focused on heaven. Heaven is our true home. Meanwhile there are previews. The best preview is the Eucharist. By receiving the Eucharist, we are already partaking of the heavenly Banquet.
The Sacraments are a gateway to the Kingdom. They are like a breath of fresh air in a polluted world. However, the Eucharist is par excellence the avenue to eternal life. Jesus tells us not to worry about the future. Through the Eucharist, He gives us the reason not to worry—because He is with us. His real presence assures us that no storm, no setback, no catastrophic happening can shake our relationship with Him. Our relationship with Him is all that matters. Being a Christian comes with a warning. “…they will seize you and persecute you…and some of you will be put to death.” Yet, despite the ominous picture, Jesus says, “Don’t worry; I will be with you.” Besides, death is not the end. Death is the beginning of life in heaven. However, fear continues to dominate our world. We have created a culture of fear.
Fear sells products. Fear causes the markets to rise or to fall. Fear can kill someone. Not too long ago fear of a microscopic virus paralyzed the world. Similar situations have happened in history, but we have selective memory. We do not like to remember our weaknesses. Many people died. Yet, when all seemed lost, we rose from the ashes. With Jesus, even when we lose, we win. He won on the cross. The martyrs were victorious in their suffering. Death has been conquered. Faith makes the difference. Apparent tragedy becomes an opportunity. Indeed, dark nights will come, since every person is touched by tragedy. However, for people of faith the sun will shine sooner or later. We do not deny the fact that we must die, but we choose to focus on life. Each day is a gift. The end will inevitably come, but for us, the end means everlasting life in God’s presence. The souls of the faithful have gone before us and we are in communion with them. We pray for them; they pray for us. We believe in the Communion of Saints. We recently celebrated All the Saints and prayed for All the Souls. Our Church puts them side by side so that we will realize that our vocation is to be saints. We know that we belong to the One who loves us without conditions. We respond by loving each other.
No one knows the day nor the hour when the world will end. Yet, we know that Christ is here with us, especially in the Blessed Sacrament. There is nothing to fear.