” For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” Matthew 24:5-6
These words are spoken by Jesus near the end of his life. It is in the final week in Jerusalem. Jesus is preparing to die. The disciples do not want that. This whole section of these few chapters( 24-25 ) are about the Second Coming. I find it strange and weird that Jesus talks about returning, again, and he has not even died yet. The readers of Matthew are hearing it for the first time about 30 or 40 years after Jesus had died, so they hear it as the Second Coming . At the time they are reading it, Jerusalem and its Temple are being destroyed by the Empire. The Temple has never been rebuilt. The readers would have heard of this war, and rumours of war. When we hear of war, of course we think of the Second Coming because war is horrible, and we want God to end it right away. We do not want to suffer. We want the End of the Age to come.
The church many times has terrified is members by talking in terms of fear of Jesus’ return. My home church did it. Hal Lindsay, author of “The Late Great Planet Earth” predicted the end of the world by 1988, or at least 1989. He has made millions off of the fear. He is still writing and trying to scare people into a relationship with a fearful God. We need to revere the Lord, but not be afraid for God to show up.
Why do we not celebrate the end of the age, when all things align in the right way ? Why do we not celebrate God’s love for the creation, and God’s love for all of us ? If you strike fear in anyone, it does not lead them to make good decisions.
So, what do we now do with the Covid 19 pandemic ? We do make any date predictions . We do not scare people, especially our children. We continue to believe that God will do a new thing. We continue act with compassion and care for all people. We support people on the front lines as they treat people with Covid. And we pray to God for wisdom, and guidance and we ask God a lot of question, because we have a lot of questions in our minds.
Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila
Lord, grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by You,
always follow Your plans,
and perfectly accomplish Your Holy Will.
Grant that in all things, great and small,
today and all the days of my life,
I may do whatever You require of me.
Help me respond to the slightest prompting of Your Grace,
so that I may be Your trustworthy instrument for Your honour.
May Your Will be done in time and in eternity by me,
in me, and through me. Amen.