Sunday, November 15, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

The film "2012" is a movie based on ancient Mayan predictions of the end of the world brought about by a historic alignment of all the planets.

With the release of that movie came the release of fear.

Fear is the common factor among all those who believe that this prediction is authentic and correct. The best antidote to fear is fact. The antidote is to seek more and perhaps better information.

Predicting the end of the world is a sport to many people. For most of our lifetimes we have heard countless predictions put forth by differing Christian communities who seem fixated on these predictions and instilling fear.

Not intending to one up anyone, it must be noted that our sacred scriptures do the same thing, as we can see from our readings today.

The "apocalyptic literature" within the Bible had, as its specific purpose, the task of proclaiming the end times. The specific goal was that in doing so, people would become alarmed and hopefully want to change their lives.

Who wouldn't want to be ready for the end of time? Daniel does a grand job in speaking apocalyptically in today's first  reading: "It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress ...".

Jesus, in Mark, echoes this theme in similar apocalyptic language: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken."

But at the same time Daniel speaks hope: "But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever."

Isn’t this enough to reassure us? Shouldn’t we find comfort in following the advice of Daniel? If we live justly as is our call as Christians, won't our future with God be secure?

That appears to be the fact proclaimed today which should alleviate the feat. But there is more fact.

Even the most superficial reading of Mark's Gospel passage today should put this whole question to rest. Jesus' own words say simply and definitively: "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

For whatever it is worth, if there is any voice out there that might be deemed an expert or having some factual knowledge, perhaps that might be Jesus. At least this author is placing his bets on him.

Go, enjoy these movies! It is Hollywood at its best. The effects, they say, are astounding.

Perhaps, like the apocalyptic literature, these movies might even move or scare some people to change their lives. That is Hollywood at its best.

However, one grand difference between Hollywood and Jesus is Jesus would call us to change not out of fear, but out of love.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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