Is the End Near?

Are we in the time of the final harvest?

In the early 1900s, a man named John Hendrix of Oak Ridge,Tennessee, had some fantastic visions of a coming apocalypse. He said that the little town of Oak Ridge would be turned upside down by a world-wide calamity. Like any good community of level-headed folks, they had him locked up as a man to be concerned about. Not long after, World War II came with its untold destruction. Oak Ridge became an outpost for the Manhattan project and many of her citizens were displaced. John Hendrix had been right about many things he saw coming, down to the placement of a new railroad system.

Then there were the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the early 1900s to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. The “Lady in White” told these little ones what the future had in store if mankind did not return to God. The Mother of God appeared on the eve of World War I. But she warned the children that a second war even more deadly would come if mankind did not repent. She wanted Catholics to pray the Rosary for world peace and for the salvation of sinners who, she said, “were falling into hell like snow-flakes.”

I am hearing frequent news from here and there that something is stirring in the world. There is a silent beast waking from a deep slumber, they say. His agents have been on mission for so long, waiting for the final act. Many are saying that his time is now and that the priests of Moloch will soon awaken him for the final battle.

But what I fear gets lost in the speculation of where we are at in the timeline of eternity are the very words of Jesus who said that no man knows the hour—but to be ready anyway. Judgment is coming whether it is once and for all, to close the final chapter on the saga of humanity, or whether it is the judgment of death, which we all face, and that none of us can escape no matter our merits.

Judgment is a hard concept when we think of it coming from the hands of a loving God.

Mercy is God’s primary weapon against sin. But he has also given us free will and he will never violate it. So what becomes of man when we are so hardened against him that we not only reject his mercy but deride it altogether?

Perhaps he simply gives us what we want and then goes quiet. He shrinks back in the sorrow of a father who has been entirely rejected by his beloved. He turns his face away as the child is swallowed by the abyss of his own choosing. But even then all hope is not lost for there is the greater abyss of His love, which will awaken like a sleeping giant if we turn back from hell with even a moments hesitation.

What is it, exactly, that humanity wants now? It is clear that the majority do not want God. But what instead?

The holocaust and the Great War were the end times for many. There was no future apocalypse to wonder about in the days ahead. It was there upon them. They were swallowed by the inhumane graves of concentration camps and by lonely deaths on battlefields far away from the home-cooked meals and warm embrace of mom and dad. Those were days when men in power were after something other than God, too, and they went to war to obtain it.

The prognosis for the world of today is as grim as any time before. No prophets are needed to tell us this. So many have either lost the faith, denied it or twisted it into a God of their own making, giving us a clear blueprint for what lies ahead. The world is shaking in preparation for what we have decided for ourselves. The disease, violence and divided politics are a warning sign that the house is ready to fall without its foundation any longer intact.

The sense of urgency to renew our faith and look to the skies for heavenly signs may be a spiritual instinct planted at our rebirth into the arms of Jesus. I don’t know if the virus will get me. Statistics say I probably won’t succumb to it. But someone else might. So the urgency is for me to be ready (just in case), but it may be even more urgent for me to tell someone else to get ready. Or to spread the sense of urgency by my own amended life. We are mortal, come from dust and to dust we shall return. We all will see the unveiling (apocalypse) of the eternal at the moment of our own death. Is this why Jesus told us to be ready no matter the day or the hour?

I believe with the Church that there are certain things which will unfold in the final hour of this planet's turn around the sun. But to think only of that would be to miss the point. The point is: Faced with the deadly tide of paganism and disobedience to God that has swept across this earth, am I ready to meet my maker?

Crisis, whether personal or global, brings us to the feet of Jesus where we will always find an undeserved mercy and a call to abundant life. It is a narrow way, as the old saying goes. But that is because it is precise, and this precision cuts away like a scalpel all the unnecessary weights so that we can find our way to the true and final joy once and for all.