KNOW YOUR FAITH, LIVE YOUR FAITH,TEACH YOUR FAITH!

Are we living in the end times? What are we supposed to do? by Fr. Anthony Mourad

February 9, 2022

Have you ever looked around you and thought the end is near? Have you seen movies or heard stories of people speaking of how the end of the world will look like? Could everything that has been going on around us be pointing to the end of ages as we know it? Lets discuss some of these things together now.  

 

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen. 

 

Are we living in the end times? Is everything that is happening around us pointing to the end of the world as we know it? I’m sure many of us have asked this question before, and many people in history have also assumed that their own era is nearing the so called ‘end of the ages’. As a matter of fact, every generation of humans has had at least one group of people who claimed they would be the generation that would witness the so called “end of the world”. And so, it comes as no surprise, that in an exceptional time like the one we live in now, a time of pandemic, chaos, and panic, that many are also claiming that the end is near. But is it? 

 

Let’s begin by making something very clear – the one sure thing on this subject that Scripture spells out very clearly is that no one knows the exact time of the end. In both the gospel of Matthew and Mark the Lord makes it explicitly clear by saying:  

 

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)  

 

It does not get any clearer than this – No one knows! So lets not get distracted and spend our time trying to figure out exact dates and time.  

 

 

What about signs of the end of the ages, and what are we to learn from the teachings of scripture. Well lets take for instance the passages spoken by the Lord himself recorded in the gospels. Lets read from the gospel of St Matthew chapter 24:  

 

“3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 

 

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24: 3-8)  

 

The Lord describes a reality of chaos and violence and deception. He also specifies that although we will witness all these things, the Lord insists “…but the end is not yet.” He explains that this will only be the beginning of sorrows – the beginning of the trouble that believers will face. The Lord continues this passage by giving greater detail on what will happen, and then ends with an important message for all of us. You see, He answers the question which was not posed by his disciples. All they wanted to know was WHEN these things will take place and WHAT will happen. However, the Lord is more concerned with HOW we ought to prepare ourselves. Pay attention to the Lord’s teaching:  

 

“…as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24: 37-44) 

 

Our Lord is calling all of us to a state of watchfulness and readiness. Calling us to a state of sobriety that we may always be ready to recognize the master in His coming. The question then should not be “are these the end times?” – the question should be “are we prepared?” 

 

 

The Lord counsels all of us to be prepared for His coming. He tells us to be careful that we should not be caught off guard when our time comes. That we should not be careless and distracted when in reality we should be sober and vigilant waiting in expectation for our time. It is for this reason that the Lord is more concerned with communicating to us the importance of being watchful and prepared then He is in trying to communicate the finite details of WHAT and WHEN things will happen.  

 

St John Chrysostom in his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew says that in reality the Lord in these passages does not imply that He Himself does not know the time, but rather that we do not, nor ought we know. St John even says that this is done intentionally by the Lord so that we may be encouraged to always be in a state of preparedness and that by being on out toes, we may constantly pursue repentance. Listen to St John’s explanation:  

 

“Those who care about their house and do not want their possessions stolen take measures against the thief. They watch; they are prepared for the thief. So it is with you. You do not know when he will come. But you know assuredly that he will come. If you do not continue to watch, you will not be ready on that day. You will be unprepared. Destruction will come in your sleep. If the person had known when the thief was coming, he would have been prepared. So be like the one who is prepared at all times, so you will escape free.” [St John Chrysostom – THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 77.2-3]  

 

Beloved we are therefore asked in these difficult times we live in to be watchful, sober, vigilant, and most importantly, to be prepared. So much around us can serve as a distraction to take our eyes off of Christ and His kingdom. The world is fighting to pull us away from God, claiming that it has something more important for us, something more entertaining, more promising…and all of these are examples of Anti-Christ. They want to replace and even take over the the position that Our Lord Jesus Christ holds in our hearts and in our minds. You see Anti Christ doesn’t just mean against Christ, it means “instead of” Christ.  

So, Preparation for the end times, regardless of when that will be, requires for me to ask myself, am I focused on Him? Am I recognizing the temptations and distractions that would otherwise have me take my eyes and my heart off of the Lord?  

 

Truth be told, no one for sure can say if we are in the end times – even thought it would seem that we are indeed approaching those days. What is sure, however, is that we are all called to repent, to keep our eyes on the Lord, and to be prepared at all times.  

 

Remember, know your faith, live your faith, and teach your faith.

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