BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa.


Malachi 3:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19

The world has witnessed many eclipses of the Sun (when the moon passes between the earth and the sun) and many more eclipses are yet to come. Some people think these eclipses are signs of the end of the world. Our ancestors who had no scientific explanations for eclipse believed that any solar or lunar eclipse would bring the world to an end. Batammaliba tribe of Togo and Benin explain the eclipse to be a fight between the sun and moon and they believe that the eclipse is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Some prophets around the world prophesied that the last eclipse would be the end of the world. From the 1970s to the 1990s there were sundry prophecies that the world will come to an end in the year 2000, and shortly after the year 2000, some other prophets predicted 2010 to be the end of the world. In all generations, people raise questions about when the end of the world will be. The Pharisees approached Jesus to ask this same question. Jesus advised them not to be deceived by what false prophets say. He adds: when you hear of wars and revolutions, earthquakes, famines and plagues, and persecutions, do not be terrified, for such things will happen.

The Jews could not believe that even their magnificent temple will someday come to an end. It took them many years and money to construct the temple. It was their symbol of unity; it was also a sign of the presence of God among them. These Jews forgot that kingdoms and empires that were once very powerful have vanished over time.

Responding to the Ending World
The people of Thessalonica believed the world was coming to an end and so they sold their properties, gave up their jobs and business, and waited for the end to come. The leaders of the early Christian community were worried about the passive attitude of the Thessalonians. Hence, they received a letter saying, let all those who refused to work, not be given food. In other words, there should be no free lunch for those who refused to work. This passage does not in any way mean that we should not be charitable to people who are unemployed or who need some help from us. The passage is a message on how best to live actively and positively, even when we know that someday our lives and the world will come to an end.

Be Ready for Troubles and Turbulence: The end will surely come, and as prophet Malachi uses apocalyptic language: “The day is coming…” and Jesus adds that before that day comes, there will be troubles and turbulence. There will be great battles between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Many good people will suffer persecution and will be sentenced to prison and death for no just cause. More still, some will suffer persecution and hatred from within their own families, from brothers, relatives, and friends, and will be killed in cold blood.

People who stand, speak and live for justice, peace, love, and truth will be hated and targeted by those who stand for wickedness and evil. Jesus says to people who stand for what is right, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4). Therefore, thou shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day. For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways (Psalm 91)


We live in constant fear of those who seek to harm us and in dread of people who do not wish us well. We feel tempted to pay back evil for evil, but Jesus provides a different solution, which calls us to endure all forms of hardships, persecutions, and hatred. Jesus says, by your endurance, you shall gain your lives. In commenting on the 21st chapter of the Gospel of Luke, William Barclay affirms that the man who walks with Christ may lose his life, but he can never lose his soul. This is what Jesus meant when he said: “Not a hair of the head shall perish” (Luke 21:18). To endure to the end implies persevering in confronting fear with faith. Scripture reminds us that “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13). An inspirational famous poem by an unknown author encourages us. It says,
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.



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