Sunday, 17 November 2019

Apocalypse, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

Lk 21:5-19; Mal 3:19-20
Today I want to address the issue of living in a troubled world, a world where we worry about where it’s all heading.
I want to start by noting that many people seem to think these are worrying times:
We have climate activists telling us the world will end;
We have people concerned that Brexit will empower racists and xenophobes,
While we have others concerned that the Establishment will crush Brexit and thwart the 2016 referendum.
Then, in a different way, many are anxious about the decline of religion in our society, the loss of values, and so forth.
Many people are anxious.  Where is the modern world heading?

The key point I want make today is that our Christian faith addresses this.
The Lord did not promise us life would be easy.
The Lord did not promise us a world free of violence. 
In fact, the Lord prophesied violence and disasters, such as in today’s gospel text (Lk 21:10-11):
“Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs on the heaven”.
The last book of the Bible is called the ‘Apocalypse’, and is a whole book on the subject.

The word ‘apocalypse’ is used today to mean a final disaster and catastrophe.
The Biblical and original meaning of the word, however, is something else:
A ‘revelation’ -which is why the final book of the Bible is also called ‘The Book of Revelation’.
So, what is the thing that will be revealed at the end of time?
What is the thing that was already revealed 2000 years ago in Christ and His Bible? 
-even if it isn't fully and definitively manifested yet

The ‘apocalypse’, the ‘revelation’, is this: 
That evil will not, ultimately, triumph;
That God will triumph;
And, in fact,
That God is active ALREADY -even in the midst of all the reasons we have to be anxious.

This is the message running right the way through all of the history that the Bible records.
God is at work, even amidst evil:
The Jews were in slavery in Egypt, but God was preparing the Promised land.
There was warfare obtaining the Promised Land, but it ended child sacrifice and temple prostitution.
There was the Exile in Babylon, but it purified the Chosen People and enabled them to Return restored.

There were many times for the Jews of the Old Testament when it SEEMED that God wasn’t active.
The Bible was written TO POINT OUT to them all the ways that God was active amidst their tribulations.
And, what the Lord Jesus promises, is that amidst all the travails of the world:
History has a goal: Him.
He will come again, in glory, and all will be put right.
Where is the world heading?  Its heading towards Him.
This is His promise.  This is His ‘revelation’, His ‘apocalypse’.
And He’s given us reason to TRUST His promise:
He died.  He let evil APPEAR to triumph.
He, instead, HE triumphed -He rose from death.
And what does He say to us, who live in a world of anxiety and turmoil:
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, 
but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world.”(Jn 16:33)

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