St. Matthew Church | Glendale Heights, Illinois

The End Times…

The end is near! But which end? The end of the year? The end of your life? The end of the planet? The end of the world? It doesn’t matter: the end is still near.

How do you react when you hear that? Usually our two major reactions are fear or disbelief.

Let’s start with fear, because it is so easy to stoke this emotion. “If we don’t act now, the planet will suffer great catastrophes.” This is the bad news of the climate prophets. As a scientist, I’m not so convinced, especially since I’ve heard this impending prophecy for the last forty years and haven’t seen the results. The climate prophets are like the Christians who have repeatedly prophesied the impending return of our Lord—and then they are always having to change the date. So I will remind you to take care of your home and your home planet, but I will also remind you that there just may be an asteroid out there with our name on it and it cares no more for us than the last one did that wiped out the dinosaurs. But you do have a Father God who cares for you at this very moment.

What about disbelief? Well, just because the end may not be near, it does not mean that there is no end at all. The end of my life gets closer every day. We must act with the end in sight or at least in mind. If you don’t travel along the road of this life with a keen awareness of your end, then it will catch you off guard and you will crash. So ultimately, what is this end that we have to keep it sight?

Jesus is the end: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13) All things came forth from Jesus, God the Son, working in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And so all things are returning to him day by day, moment by moment, until they reach their destination in him. He is the end, the goal, the destination of this year, your life, this planet and this world.

This is why Christians must not respond with fear when they hear about the end times. They must respond with hope. They realize that we are always in the end times. All time is marked out by Christ. All time before his birth was the beginning times. All time after it is the end times. But he is with us now; and when you live your life united to Christ, there is no fear about what is to come. He has already foreseen it and will walk you through it. So praised be to you Lord Jesus Christ; we praise you even for our brother carbon dioxide. He helps to make our plants green; may we not mix him with sulfur and thus keep our air clean.

This is why Christians must not respond with disbelief and ignore the end times. They must respond with faith. I must follow Christ today in order to prepare for the end of my life, for my personal, particular judgment. At that moment, Christ will take up your life and hold it next to his own. He will show you all the graces he gave you during your life. Then he will show you how you responded. “What did you do with the life I gave you?”
If we have rejected his graces, if we have rejected him—we will now live that way forever by our own choice. To live apart from God is what we call hell.

If we have embraced his graces, if we have embraced him—he will welcome us home to live that way forever. To live with God is heaven!
If our response to him has been imperfect, then our love for him has been imperfect. Only the pure of heart shall see God. These imperfections must be purged away; this is what we call purgatory.

Let’s pray that together we respond to Jesus now, at this moment, with faith and hope. Jesus, I believe in you. Jesus, I hope in you. I trust that you who brought me into this world because of your great love will guide me at every step of my earthly journey until I find my final rest in you. I want to live my life with you—forever. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all,

Fr. Jerome

P.S. Thank you to all who’ve already made your stewardship pledge for the year ahead. I’m grateful. If you’ve forgotten or needed more time, please join the rest of your parish family by dropping the card in the mail, collection basket, or at the parish office. May we serve and give together, united by Christ himself.