Saturday, February 16, 2013

Its the End of the World As We Know It...

And I feel fine...

So the Pope is quitting & everyone thinks its the end of the world. I have to admit, I was a little shocked when I woke to the news, but I also have to respect his decision. Indeed, as its been said by so many others, it must have taken tremendous courage & humility on his part to know when to say when.

But a lot of folks still think its the end of the world- literally. Hours after Pope Benedict XVI's announcement, a lightening bolt hit the Vatican & a meteor streaked across the Russian sky. The supposed prophecy of St. Malachy is the hot topic in the news & all over various faith forums.  Protestants are crying "rapture!" & multitudes are waiting on pins & needles to see "Peter the Roman" appear. Perhaps the new Pope will be the long foretold anti-christ who comes to power before our eyes. This is it. We are living it. Or are we? What if nothing happens when the new Pope comes to power? What if life just stays normal? Or better yet, what if the new Pope succeeds in reforming the Church & even somehow unifies Christians of all stripes? Well, that would suck, wouldn't it?

I think some people will genuinely be disappointed if the world doesn't end.  The uncertainty many of us feel now (Catholics & Protestants alike) seems to give us a strange sense of hope- hope that maybe we really will see the end of days, hope that our suffering really will end, hope that we really will see God & be done with all the striving. But we can't know the hour or the day- even Jesus doesn't know. But what He did say was that these kinds of things must happen... and then the end will come. Whether current events are portents of Christ's coming or not, we are called to stand firm & pray.

How fitting that we should find ourselves in the season of Lent- a time of reflection, repentance & reconciliation to God... perhaps its no coincidence. Perhaps its no small mercy...

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