Warning: Quite a Long Post
My wife and I have been able to attend the Mass at the Antipolo Cathedral this morning and the Mass presider, was His Excellency Most Rev. Bishop Francisco De Leon himself.
Today's Gospel (Lk 21:5-19) tackles about the end of days. His disciples asked the Lord Jesus Christ about the signs that they need to anticipate in order to know when the end of the world will be. But the Lord is quick to say that the time and circumstances regarding the end of the world or times are up to God the Father Himself. The all powerful Savior Jesus Christ doesn't know when or where this will happen!
Nevertheless, He mentioned some signs regarding the end of days, with the thought of giving all the faithful hope and joy, rather than hopelessness and fear.
In his homily, Bishop Francisco mentioned four types of chaos that will happen before the end of days, but not necessarily it posits that it is the end of the world itself.
He mentioned of political chaos where world leaders will lead war after another. This is happening for the last 200 years and the latest, the war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine. Wars, particularly, that use weapons of mass destruction is really scary. One nuclear missile or a biochemical warfare can annihilate large portions of the living population.
The Lord Jesus talked about rumors of wars, which is happening right now. People's Republic of China threatens Taiwan and so is the People's Democratic Republic of North Korea. Even the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spoken about the possible retaliation of the Islamic kingdom to the threats of US imperialism because of the former's decision of cutting its oil production in the coming days.
Bishop Francisco also mentioned about spiritual chaos, wherein some religious and even lay leaders will declare themselves as the Christ, fooling even the elect or the chosen people of God (we, included).
Then he also mentioned about cosmic chaos or series of natural and man-made catastrophes like the COVID-19 global pandemic, which some people believed to be as a sign of the end of days.
Then, there is persecution among Christians even to this day, especially in countries where Christianity is considered as a banned religion, either for political or ideological reasons.
However, Bishop Francisco was quick to explain that these are only signs but the end of days will not come as expected. In past several decades, there were groups that proclaimed the end of days, even specified its date but it never happened.
In the Gospel, Master Jesus told his disciples to be strong and firmly believe in the power of God.
"Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives."
While most of the early saints were martyred, they have had a happy death because they know in their hearts that God prepared something wonderful for them.
Holy Father, Pope Francis made this statement some three years ago, which fits today's Gospel:
"And what is the attitude of the Christian? It is the attitude of hope in God, which allows us not to be overwhelmed by tragic events. Indeed, they are “a time to bear witness” (v. 13). Christ’s disciples cannot remain slaves to fear and anxiety; instead they are called to live history, to stem the destructive force of evil, with the certainty that the Lord’s action of goodness is always accompanied by His providential and reassuring tenderness. This is the eloquent sign that the Kingdom of God is approaching us, that is, the realization of the world as God wants it. It is He, the Lord, Who guides our existence and knows the ultimate purpose of things and events. (Angelus, 17 November 2019)"
(The message was lifted from the Vatican News' website. See this Link)