On Saturday, my mother celebrated her 50th birthday (yes, I have a young mother!). As a present, my father got her two birds. I joked that we should name one “Harold” and the other “Camping” after the preacher who wrongly predicted that the world would end on Saturday. I guess that when you own your own radio station, as Harold does, you can promote whatever you want on it. Good luck next time, Mr. Camping.
A lot of people heaped scorn on H. Camping and his followers. It even merited the front page headline in the Erie Times News on Saturday (seriously?). I don’t like the mockery. I feel that it is disrespectful and somewhat un-American. In terms of religion, people are free to be as foolish as they want to be. It is not as if Mr. Camping’s followers were trying to undermine the institution of marriage (as some “progressive” Christians do) , or put women in a full-body Burqas (as some “conservative” Muslims do). In the mainsteam media, such people are thoughtfully listened to and nodded at – they are tolerated. If we can tolerate people whose religious convictions have serious cultural implications (as Catholics, we expect to be treated as such), we can certainly tolerate harmless foolishness. These rapture people were simply being foolish. Should Ameicans mock people for being fools?
The whole “May 21st rapture failure” does upset me because it undermines general cultural belief in the Second Coming. Jesus will come again. He says so, in numerous places in the Gospels. Check out Matthew 25:1-13 as one such citation. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew25.htm
Jesus will come again, but we are not to know the day or the hour. Christians do not believe that the universe is eternal. We believe in a definitive creation of the universe, and a definative ending, a fundamental transformation, of the universe. This will occur when Jesus comes again. Check it out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Part of the reason for cultural decline and a lack of vocations is because people no longer believe in the “Last Things.” The Last Things are death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, and the Resurrection of the Body. These things have been believed by the Church since the earliest generations. They are Scriptural (although Purgatory’s foundation is more implicit than explicit in Scripture). People live as if there will be no accounting for their actions. Religion has become a social institution. Why be concerned about answering a vocation from God if my choice has no real or lasting significance? Why make personal sacrifices to spread a Gospel that is earthbound and relative? Why would someone choose a vocation like that?
We clearly believe that we will meet the Lord and account for our faith and good works. This will happen either at His Second Coming, or when we die. God is just and merciful. We ought not tremble about encountering the God who sent His Son to be nailed to the Cross for our redemption. The wounds of Christ testify to God’s compassionate love for us. However, we should have a healthy “fear” for our Lord of Love. Jesus died for us, that we might know the Father’s will. Now, we are to follow His will. If we choose not to do that, we will have to account for squandering our Lord’s Passion, our inheritance.
Keeping these things in mind helps us to focus on God, and to ignore distractions. May we be reminded every day that the Master will return. May we not be like the evil steward, who had to be called to account. (Luke 12:42-48). The true fool is the one who knows better! And we do….