After Jesus foretold a great upheaval in Sunday’s Gospel, surely it wasn’t mere curiosity that provoked his disciples to ask, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" (Luke 21:7, NAB)
Yes, the apocalypse provides a thrilling narrative, whereby all humanity is inescapably pulled into a collective struggle, with person-by-person conclusions dependent on free will decisions. For this reason alone, the proliferation of rapture films was predictable. (My personal favourite is Judgment
, starring Mr. T as a tough-talking convert.)
I ponder the Second Coming more seriously whenever I feel overwhelmed by injustice. I don’t know what’s more frightening: the newspaper predictions of environmental calamity, new wars and mainstream eugenics, or our failure to take those warnings seriously. Christ’s return would interrupt both our hysteria and our slumber, like the awakening from a nightmare where you’re plummeting to the ground.
There can be no fault in desiring "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1). But if I yearn for something so severe as the Final Judgment, this could indicate despair--that I've lost hope in repentence of my fellow man. Pope Benedict XVI addressed this temptation in Sunday
’s Angelus address, where he reflected on the reading from Luke:
In reality, history must follow its course, which also brings human dramas and natural calamities with it. A plan of salvation that Christ has already carried out in his incarnation, death, and resurrection develops in history. The Church continues to proclaim and realize this mystery through preaching, the celebration of the sacraments and the witness of charity.Dear brothers and sisters, let us welcome Christ's invitation to face daily events trusting in his providential love. Let us not be afraid of the future, even when it appears bleak to us, for the God of Jesus Christ, who took up history to open it up to its transcendent fulfillment, is its alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (cf. Revelation 1:8).Translation from Zenit