The End of the World
The Gospel of Mark 13:24-32 speaks to us about the end of the world and the return of the Son of Man in glory. Throughout history, human beings have shown a propensity for prophecies regarding the end of the world, even when these have been disproven time and time again. For example, in 1524, the German astrologer and mathematician Johannes Stoeffler predicted that a flood would destroy the world. Count von Iggleheim ordered a three-story ark to be constructed for his family. When the rain began to fall on that day, a panic-stricken crowd broke into a riot and attempted to get inside the ark. When von Iggleheim refused to allow any of them aboard, he was dragged off his ship and stoned to death by the crowd. However, there was no flood and the world did not end on that day. In 1806, the Englishwoman Mary Bateman also predicted the end of the world. She claimed that her hen laid eggs on which was inscribed the words, “Christ is coming!” and she charged money for people to see them. She was later found guilty of fraud and was hanged.
A curious and gullible percentage of the human population has yet again failed to learn the lesson that is offered in today’s Gospel, which says: “As for the exact day or hour of the end of the world, no one knows! (Mark 13:32)”. Rather than speculating and worrying about the end of the world, we should instead focus on careful preparation. According to the Book of Daniel in the First Reading, that kind of preparation consists in living wisely and justly in all we are and in all that we do. And according to the Letter to the Hebrews in the Second Reading, that kind of preparation consists in trusting the saving power of Jesus’ sacrifice which forgives sins and sanctifies sinners. Victorious over sin and death, Jesus has gone to the Father in glory, as He awaits those who persevere in faithfulness. Rather than pay attention to false prophets who predict the end of the world, we must instead heed the words and wisdom of God.
The horrifying images of the end times become meaningful only when we begin to see the “silver lining” of hope. And that hope is the conviction that the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which is already manifest in the lives of the faithful, will one day be accomplished for all. If we have this hope, then we can carry out our mission of spreading the love of God and neighbor on earth. The world is merely passing away, but if we can only realize that we are deeply loved as adopted children of God and heir with Christ Himself (Rom 8:16–17), then we can attain indescribable freedom and peace in our lives!
Thanksgiving Day is the day for us to give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received throughout the year. On November 22, 2018 our church community will have its annual Thanksgiving Mass. Following our faith tradition, bread will be blessed and distributed to each family after Mass. A potluck lunch follows after. Come and join us in fellowship on this special day!
December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which is a holy day of obligation. The Vigil Mass will be celebrated in English at 7:00 pm on December 7, while the Mass on December 8 will be celebrated at 12:00 pm in Chinese. The Immaculate Conception is the patronal feast day of the United States. All are invited to attend.
Please welcome Fr. Jianmin Bai, he will lead an Advent retreat on December 15, Saturday, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. On December 16, Sunday, he will also share his experiences with the community. Fr. Bai comes from Hebei diocese in China and was ordained on July 25, 2013. He served in a parish for four years and taught classes in a seminary. He came to the U.S. in May 2017 to pursue his doctorate.
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