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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

WHEN IS THE END OF THE WORLD 

(Mark 13:24-32; Luke 21:5-19)

"Neither the Son nor the angels know the end of the world. Only My Father in heaven." Of course, the Son knows when the end is. The end, whether our death or the end times, has been decreed by Christ, together with the Father. So He knows. And so do the angels. 

This was, however, a question Christ refused to answer. And He did not want the disciples to bother Him with questions He did not want to answer. Firstly, He refused to answer such a question because it would redound to enormous spiritual harm for anyone to know the time of his death or the end of the world. With such knowledge men will live sinful lives until the end and repent only a few seconds before dying. So God, Himself, saw to it that man would never know the answer to such a question. 

But did Christ have to say He didn't know? Well, if a father has a toy in his hand which his child keeps on asking for, and if the father continues to show the toy but refuses to give it to him, the child would continuously bother him for the toy. The wise thing to do is to hide the toy, show an empty hand, and the child would surely calm down. It is the same with the disciples. If Christ said, "I know the date but I won't tell you," the disciples would continuously bother Him to no end. So He also showed an empty hand, "I do not know the day." And surely it kept them quiet. 

Christians are not supposed to fear death nor the calamities that will accompany the end of the world. They are supposed to fear being caught unprepared. The interest of Christians should instead be on preparing and not on the date. Those who are interested in the date are the ones who want to find out how much time they still have to enjoy the world. And this is a disastrous mentality for it shows that they have no interest in preparing themselves. 

So Christ was emphatic when He said that our concern is that we are not caught unprepared, for that day can come anytime. To find out that date is futile. So concentrate on preparing because it will certainly come when we least expect it. 

How do we prepare? Christ said: "Let the watchman stay awake." The watchman is the mind, the guardian of the doors of the house. The doors and windows are the senses. The watcher should be watchful and see to it that nothing against the commands of Christ enters the senses. The senses must be screened. We cannot be like the people in the world where every stimulus from the outside enters the senses without being screened. Thieves are entering everyone's soul through the senses without being screened.  The watchman is  not awake. The soul will surely be caught unaware. 

 

Blessed Theophylact: On Mark 

 

 

(updated 03-16-02)

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