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Monsignor Yennock on The End of the World (Luke 21:5-19) - Homily from November 17, 2019

Nov 19, 2019

THE END OF THE WORLD (Luke 21:5-19)

THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

NOVEMBER 17, 2019

 

BEFORE THE 1920’S, MANY SCIENTISTS BELIEVED THAT THE UNIVERSE DID NOT HAVE A BEGINNING. MANY SCIENTISTS THOUGHT THE UNIVERSE WAS ETERNAL. AND FEW EVER THOUGHT THAT THE SUN WOULD RUN OUT OF FUEL.

ONE DAY A MAN NAMED EDWIN HUBBLE BUILT THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE. THIS POWERFUL INSTRUMENT ALLOWED US TO DISCOVER 2 TRILLION GALLAXIES IN THE UNIVERSE. THIS HUBBLE TELESCOPE ALLOWED US TO DISCOVER FORCES IN THE UNIVERSE THAT WERE ALREADY LEADING TO THE END OF THE WORLD. IT BECAME INCREASINGLY EVIDENT THAT THIS WORLD WAS NOT ETERNAL. IT WILL END.

3500 YEARS BEFORE THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE THE BOOK OF GENESIS TOLD US THAT THE WORLD HAD A BEGINNING. 2000 YEARS BEFORE HUBBLE JESUS TOLD US THAT THE WORLD WOULD EVENTUALLY COME TO AN END.

THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED. THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT. THE STARS WILL BE FALLING FROM THE SKY. THERE WILL BE A BIG EARTHQUAKE. IN FACT EVERYTHING AROUND US WILL BE SHAKING. 

 

IMAGINE IF YOU WENT OUT SIDE AT NIGHT AND YOU SAW THOUSANDS OF STARS FALLING TO THE GROUND RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES. FIRES STARTING EVERYWHERE, LIKE IN CALIFORNIA. IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE IF YOU WENT OUTSIDE THIS MORNING AND EVERYTHING WAS PITCH BLACK. YOU WAITED TILL 9 O’CLOCK. THERE IS STILL NO LIGHT. YOU LOOK UP. YOU DON’T SEE CLOUDS HIDING THE SUN.THERE IS NO SUN. JESUS SAYS THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED. THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUN.

 

SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED THROUGH 9/11 THOUGHT THE END OF THE WORLD WAS COMING-- THE DARKNESS-- THE SMOKE-- THE FIRE-- THE CONFUSION-- THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE EXPERIENCING JESUS’ DESCRIPTION OF THE END OF THE WORLD. FOR SOME OF THEM IT WAS THE END OF THEIR WORLD.

 

THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCED THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM IN 70 A.D. THOUGHT THE END OF THE WORLD WAS COMING. AGAIN, IT WAS THE END OF THEIR WORLD. 

 

THE THOUGHT OF EXPERIENCING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS JUST TOO FRIGHTENING TO IMAGINE. ALL SORTS OF QUESTIONS COME TO OUR MINDS. WHEN WILL ALL THIS TAKE PLACE? WILL I BE READY? WHERE WILL I BE AT THAT TIME? HOW LONG WILL IT LAST? DO EVIL FORCES HAVE THE LAST WORD? HAS GOD ABANDONED US? WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE AFTER IT’S ALL OVER?

 

JESUS ANSWERS SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS FOR THE DISCIPLES.

 

AS TO THE QUESTION OF WHEN, HE SAYS: “BUT OF THAT DAY OR HOUR, NO ONE KNOWS, NEITHER THE ANGELS IN HEAVEN, NOR THE SON, BUT ONLY THE FATHER.”  DO NOT BELIEVE ANY PERSON OR ANY GROUP WHO TELLS YOU THAT THEY KNOW WHEN THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING. THEY DON’T KNOW. NOBODY KNOWS. JESUS MAKES THAT QUITE CLEAR.

 

WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, BUT WE DO KNOW SOME THINGS FOR CERTAIN. WE KNOW THERE WILL BE A GENERAL JUDGEMENT AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

 

ALL OF OUR SECRETS WILL BE REVEALED. THERE WILL BE NO MORE ROOM FOR HYPOCRISY. WE WILL HAVE TO TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT OURSELVES. WE WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHO WE ARE. EVERYONE ELSE WILL KNOW WHO WE ARE.

 

ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS ABOUT JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS WILL BE CLEARED UP. CHRIST WILL COME IN GLORY. HE WILL SHOW US HOW THE JUSTICE OF GOD WORKS. WE WILL BE SURPRISED WHAT HAPPENS WHEN JUSTICE AND MERCY MEET. WE WILL KNOW THE MEANING OF THE SAYING THAT GOOD TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL.

 

ALL THE THINGS THAT DON’T MAKE SENSE TO US NOW, WILL SUDDENLY BE CLEAR. OUR ANGER AND BITTERNESS WILL SEEM FOOLISH WHEN WE KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD AND THE DEVIL; ABOUT HEAVEN AND HELL AND PURGATORY; ABOUT TIME AND ETERNITY. WE WILL SAY: I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED HIM MORE.

 

SOME PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD. WE REALLY DON’T HAVE MUCH CONTROL OVER THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES. WE DO HAVE SOME CONTROL OVER OUR OWN LITTLE WORLD. THE WORLD OF WHO I AM—WHAT I OWN—WHAT I KNOW—WHAT POSITION I HOLD IN SOCIETY—WHO OR WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME—THE CHOICES I MAKE.

 

WHEN MY LITTLE WORLD COMES TO AN IND SOMEONE ELSE WILL DISMANTLE EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE PUT TOGETHER ALL MY LIFE. MY POSSESSIONS WILL BE DISBURSED HITHER AND YON. MY POSITION WILL BE FILLED BY SOMEONE ELSE. SACRED SCRIPTURE SAYS IT VERY DRAMATICALLY: MY PLACE WILL NOT SEE ME AGAIN.

 

THE BIBLE SAYS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MAN ONCE TO DIE AND THEN THE JUDGEMENT. AT THE PARTICULAR JUDGEMENT I WILL MEET GOD--- UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL--. IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE MY WHOLE LIFE WILL PASS BEFORE ME.

 

WHEN MY SOUL LEAVES MY BODY-- WHILE ALL OF THE PEOPLE ARE STILL IN THE ROOM, I WILL HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE. THERE WILL BE A BALANCE SHEET—AN EVALUATION OF MY TIME ON THIS EARTH. SUDDENLY I WILL SEE THE CONSEQUENCES OF ALL MY CHOICES DURING LIFE ON EARTH. SUDDENLY, I WILL HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE CONSEQUENCES.

 

DID YOU EVER CONSIDER THAT MOST OF YOUR EXISTENCE WILL NOT BE HERE ON EARTH? YOU MAY SPEND 70 OR 80 OR 90 YEARS HERE BUT MOST OF YOUR EXISTENCE WILL BE SOME PLACE ELSE.

 

I DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF MY SELF WILL END. I DO NOT KNOW WHEN MY LITTLE WORLD WILL END.  ONLY THE FATHER IN HEAVEN KNOWS THIS.

 

JESUS TELLS US TO BE READY FOR THAT FINAL MOMENT. IT WILL COME WHEN WE LEAST EXPECT IT. IT WILL COME SUDDENLY, GIVING US LITTLE OR NO TIME TO PREPARE WITH CONVERSION, REPENTANCE, AND CONFESSION.

 

A FEW YEARS AGO A JAPANESE AIRLINER CRASHED INTO A MOUNTAIN, KILLING 520 PEOPLE.

 

MINUTES BEFORE THE AIRLINER HIT THE MOUNTAIN, THE PASSENGERS WERE TOLD THE PLANE WAS DOOMED. THEN THE TRAGEDY OCCURRED.

 

WHEN RESCUERS REACHED THE PLANE, ONE OF THE THINGS THEY FOUND IN THE DEBRIS WAS A POCKET CALENDAR THAT BELONGED TO A JAPANESE BUSINESSMAN. ACROSS THE PAGES OF THE TINY CALENDAR THE MAN HAD SCRIBBLED SEVERAL HASTY NOTES AS THE FINAL MINUTES TICKED OFF.

 

ONE NOTE READ, “WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. I’M SAD!”

 

A SECOND NOTE ADDRESSED TO HIS FAMILY READ, TO THINK THAT OUR DINNER LAST NIGHT WAS THE LAST TIME WE WOULD BE TOGETHER.

 

AND A FINAL NOTE ADDRESSED TO HIS THREE CHILDREN READ, BE GOOD, WORK HARD, AND HELP YOUR MOTHER.

 

THESE HURRIED NOTES ARE THOSE OF A MAN CAUGHT OFF GUARD,

THE END OF HIS LITTLE WORLD CAME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.

 

WHEN THE WORLD IS COMFORTABLE AND EVERYONE SAYS THAT THERE IS NO NEED OF GOD, IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK ABOUT ANOTHER LIFE. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SHARE THE PROMISE THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS MADE TO US ABOUT THE NEXT LIFE.

 

THE WORLD FOCUSES ON PROSPERITY. WHEN PROSPERITY ABOUNDS, PEOPLE FORGET GOD. WHEN PEOPLE HAVE NO FEAR, THEY ALSO HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD. WHEN LIFE IS COMFORTABLE, GOD SEEMS IRRELEVANT.

 

JESUS SAID THAT THE COMING OF TROUBLES WILL BE AN OCCASION TO TESTIFY. AT THAT TIME CHRISTIANS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE TESTIMONY ABOUT JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED AND RISEN FROM THE DEAD. THE FAITH OF CHRISTIANS WILL BE THE ONLY SOURCE OF HOPE IN A WORLD THAT HAS LOST ITS COMPASS

 

SOMETIMES WE FEEL LIKE SMOLDERING SPECS IN THE UNIVERSE—NOT MUCH MORE. YET WE ARE DESTINED TO SEE WHAT NO LIVING HUMAN BEING HAS EVER SEEN. WE ARE DESTINED TO EXPERIENCE WHAT NO EYE HAS SEEN; WHAT NO EAR HAS HEARD; WHAT NO MIND HAS EVER THOUGHT OF---THE FACE OF THE LIVING GOD.

 

YOU KNOW SOMETHING. YOU AND I ARE LIVING ON THE BRINK OF SOMETHING AWESOME. WE CAN’T AFFORD TO TAKE THE RISK OF LOSING EVERYTHING. WE CANNOT AFFORD BEING CAUGHT OFF GUARD. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO PUT OFF OUR CONVERSION, OUR CONFESSION, AND OUR SURRENDER TO THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE.

 

AS SURE AS WE BREATHED OUR FIRST BREATH WE WILL BREATHE OUR LAST BREATH. BE READY. THERE IS AN INVISIBLE WORLD AHEAD OF US. WE WLL EITHER GAIN IT OR LOSE IT. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE CARELESS. YOU KNOW NOT THE DAY NOR THE HOUR.

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