As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:26-27).
It’s that time of year. As the liturgical year winds down, we are treated to the apocalyptic literature of the Scripture. How are we to read these ominous words? What is God saying to us through His Word?
We really have a choice when we read this type of literature. We can presuppose that these words are written to frighten us into submission. However, is it not true that most of the Scriptures are motivated by God’s love for us? If that is true, is it then possible to read these words with the same kind of understanding. So often in the Scriptures, we are told: “Be not afraid.” Google those words and be amazed at how often they pop up in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Does it not seem rather odd, then, that God would deliberately try to frighten us.
If we approach the Apocalyptic literature as we do the rest of the Scriptures, we might find that God is not so much warning us about impending doom. Rather, God is encouraging us in the task of remaining alert and watching for the Lord’s return. Yes, the words are ominous – for those who are not ready. However, if we stand in readiness for the inevitable end of this life, then we will be gathered into the bosom of God and rest there in peace forever. What could be more wonderful? Indeed, what could be more loving?
Shakespeare understood this and writes about it in the great tragedy of Hamlet:
HORATIO: “If something is telling you not to play, listen to it. I’ll say you’re not feeling well.”
HAMLET: “Not a whit. We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.”
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator