Bishop comments on Apocalyptic Literature



well there's a speech in the 21st chapter of Luke's Gospel that's one of the most startling speeches Jesus ever gave he talks about disturbing signs in the sky the Sun and the planets and the stars he talks about the powers being shaken he talks about tumult on the earth and political institutions being shaken and he says men will die of fright in anticipation of what is to come well it's kind of startling shocking language in Jesus own time people would have been somewhat familiar with this kind of talk because it hearkened back to the book of the prophet Daniel Daniel 2 described this destruction of the cosmos this tumult on the earth that priests ages the the end of all things what you see in both Jesus and Daniel is a kind of reversal of Eden so go back to the beginning of the Bible and you see that God gently creates all things he places the Sun the Moon the stars in the heavens he puts our first parents in this peaceful paradise everything is in its proper order well it's as though at the end of all things the order of Eden is undone everything comes apart well this kind of literature has beguiled fascinated sometimes terrified people up and down the centuries and today you can see a real fascination with it among both believers and non-believers look at a movie like 2012 and I talked about recently a movie like Independence Day and then look at the very popular series of novels called Left Behind all about the rapture the Battle of Armageddon the end of all things these are sold tens of millions of copies so people are captivated they're fascinated by this end of the world or apocalyptic literature well what are Catholics to make of it and and how do we appropriate this language well I would suggest it might be wise to go back to that funny little word I just apocalyptic if you ask most people what does that mean apocalyptic they probably say it means well having to do at the end of the world well that's not really its original meaning or its basic meaning the word is derived from the Greek word apocalypsis and Calypso's in greek means a veil so apocalypsis means unveiling that's why when they render that word in Latin that came out as Ravel OpSail same idea taking the veil away so apocalyptic literature unveils something it reveals something that is usually hidden what is it I think it's this it unveils for us what's usually hidden namely how fleeting and passing and even essent are all the things of this world think of both Daniel and Jesus they as it were speed up or they compress time so that we can see even now what will inevitably take place in regard to all of nature and all of politics the destruction of all things is as it were built into this world think for a second you look at the beautiful sunset and we are amazed by it well in a few minutes it's gone I think of all the all the plants and flowers I've ever sprung up on the earth and and for a short time were beguiled by their beauty then they pass away think of all the animals who ever roam the face of the earth who are now roaming to face the earth displaying all their power all their grace and beauty well they're around for at most a few years then they fade away most disturbingly of course we fade away we exist as the psalmist said for 70 years 80 for those who are strong our lives are over like a sigh so it goes with these human bodies of ours and not only is it true of particular things in the world but our cosmologists now know something that the Bible people didn't know that the cosmos as such will fall apart we talked about the Big Bang that creates all things then the Big Crunch where everything sort of falls back into into non-being so the world the natural world is an unstable fleeting even essent world and then apocalyptic literature also talks about the shaking of political and cultural institutions well if it did right of course about that all of our institutions even the most beautiful the most lasting and most enduring eventually crumble if you had asked a Italian aristocrat in the second century how long will the Roman Empire last if I would have said forever there's nothing more stable seeming than the Roman Empire if you would suggested to an English gentleman in 1900 that by the end of the 20th century England would be a second-rate power it would have lost at Empire he wouldn't believe you how strong and stable powerful the British Empire seemed and to be fair if you asked an American now how long will the American Empire last well he might be tend to say it lasts forever of course our our Empire our nation will collapse as they all have all political and cultural institutions come and they go the problem is this fact is usually veiled to us which is precisely why we tend to rest our lives in these things we take as our ultimate good natural realities cultural realities and we say I'm going to rest my life here apocalyptic literature unveils that it unmasks it it shows you the true nature of things don't rest your life on them as though they are your ultimate goods now apakah the literature is shocking to that degree disturbing to that degree but it doesn't just leave us in a lurch both Daniel and Jesus say at the destruction of all things there will emerge coming in the clouds and all his glory the son of man of course that's Jesus himself who comes into this even essent shaking indefinite world but comes bearing the very eternal power of God if Jesus were simply one more philosopher among many one more politician or social theorist among many well the heck with him he'll be just as shaken just as compromised as they but he comes precisely as the bearer of a Divine Presence and so he's unveiling to us this truth rest your life their rest your life in that eternal power of God that's why apocalyptic literature unveils for us the deepest truth about the world the deepest truth about Christ and thereby allows us to live in a rightly ordered way so the message of this literature is clear don't panic when all the things of this world are shaken rather rest your life in the Christ who is the same yesterday today and forever we are the apocalyptic people to whom these great truths have been unveiled

30 thoughts on “Bishop comments on Apocalyptic Literature

  1. Why at the end did you say rest your life in THE christ… Calling Jesus A christ or The christ I have found, is staple wording in esoteric religions and new age religion. Why did you say that?

  2. The causes of the events which will take place on earth described in revelation and the book of Daniel the prophet is solely becuase of the sins of man kind.

    Can you imagine how disgusting and evil this world must be to a holy God. Please wake up see the world through the eyes of your God you would be disgusted and horrified too.
    But hey let's make our selves feel warm and fuzzy about God's justice falling upon the world at the end times (which we are living in). Let's see how fuzzy we will be feeling when fire is raining from the sky.
    Listen Christians are you ready to die for your faith if it came down to it???
    We are asleep guys wake up wake up wake up!!

  3. Until we know when the end of the world will come, don't panic and don't start making up end of the world dates like various people have. What's more interesting is that when we get to the end of the Ordinary time cycle with any of the Gospels. Take for example this one.
    "Jesus said to his disciples:
    'In those days, after the tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give it's light, and the stars will be falling away from the sky, and the powers in the Heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elected from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky. Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and spouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, i say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in Heaven, nor the son, but only the father.'" Mark 13:24-32.

  4. Bishop Robert Barron does have a point. This world 🌎 we live in will soon end. But should we worry about it? No. Because Jesus said that he'll be with us until the end of time. Although various times I heard that the end is near. For example January 1st 2000. Y2K. That didn't take place. Then there was the end of the Mayan Calendar. December 21st 2012. That didn't happen either. We don't know when the end will come or the second coming. Only God knows.

  5. I grew up in Italy, with a very anti Semitic attitude, which was the popular view back in the '60s (could be different now). I found it quite funny that as Catholics, we seriously disliked the Jews and believed they got everything they deserved under the Nazis because they killed Jesus. However we never really mentioned the fact that we worshiped a Jew (Jesus) and His mum and dad (Mary and Joseph) and our RC Church was founded by the apostle Peter the rock (also a Jew!) So the first Pope ever, was a Jew! I crack up laughing when I think about it!

  6. I've always said, One will never starve, if they publish a newsletter, covering end times prophesy, or stock market forecasts.

  7. I don't actually think it's true that "most people" in either the Roman empire or in our own day would agree that our respective political milieux will last forever. Both the Romans and ourselves have strong conservative biases in support of what we consider our basic identity. We're hyper-alert to ideas or developments that threaten that identity, particularly at times of transition.

    I would argue that the Romans were well aware of the forces pushing them from a republic into despotism. They would have been equally aware of every external force in the form of enemy armies that would threaten their borders, or even more shockingly, raid their cities.

    Our own culture is well aware that we "almost" self-destructed several times in the last century. First in WW I and again in WW II, then again at the Cuban missile crisis. Most Americans are acutely aware that they will not be able to pass on economic conditions to their children as advantageous as what they themselves received. Those of us who still identify as Christians are also acutely aware of, and mourn the passing of, traditional Christian morality. We see it as just another sign that our end is in sight. The Vietnam war was apocalyptic for many Americans. Our huge and powerful army was powerless in the face of determined grass roots opposition to the government we were trying to prop up. It was a wakeup call at least as traumatic as the sacking of Rome. For those Americans who believe the government propaganda, 9/11 was equally apocalyptic. Even for those of us who believe it was a false flag event, it's still a wakeup call to how corrupt our own government really is.

    I think in both cultures (Rome and ours) there's a strong sense that we're only the latest in a long line of empires that didn't last, but if we adapt to changing conditions we may be able to hold on just a little bit longer. Rome conquered Greece (and Carthage), Greece in turn conquered Persia and Egypt. And each of Persia and Egypt had a long succession of prior empires or dynasties. We, of course, inherited from Europe, UK in particular, and they inherited, after a feudal interlude, from the barbarian empires and kingdoms and dukedoms who had conquered Rome. History makes clear for all to see that no empire, no power, lasts forever.

    In most generations, about all we can manage to do is to pass on to our children some semblance of order on which to build a continuation. Occasionally a brilliant leader like Justinian or Constantine or Alexander is able to breathe new life into established societies that delay or redirect the destructive forces, but even the greatest can't make a milieu permanent.

  8. Well yes, it is true that all things end in this world. And that apocalyptic literature deals with such occurrences. But then, why would Christ waste words on things that commonly happen in this world anyway? Do sentences in the Book of Apocalypse account for fall of each empire since Christ walked on earth? Or do they point to a very specific time? What Christ said in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew is not immaterial and vague at all. By end times (or last days), he certainly meant some very specific time, and he also framed it with his new coming – end times finale.

    The problem is not in apocalyptic literature flourishing, but in the slumber of Apocalyptic exegesis in Catholicism after the Middle-Ages: many have given up on it. In St Augustine’s time and in times right after the resurrection, it was a very hot topic. Faithful anticipated Christ’s new coming was just around the corner — a matter of years! Not centuries, not millenniums. That is why Catholics still go back in times of Origen and St. Augustine when annoyed to talk about the Apocalypse, only to say, "See, this is the last time we dealt with this. And we are done with it."

    Perhaps that lack on emphasis on end times is why the Church has become complacent, her gaze lacking penetrating strength of early Church Fathers to recognise true patterns of end times. With current lack of will to gaze, we won't be able to recognise them even if they come hovering above our heads with a big banner "Yes, these are indeed End Times".

  9. That's gota be the greatest youtube Comment response iv ever read!

    LOL. In the words of modern day street slang ….."HATERS GONA HATE "! =) ..and boy do they hate the church.

  10. As of this month the study of The Higgs Boson suggests entropy. He's right again. The cycle continues. 😉

  11. i tink its extremly important to interpret the apocalyptic literature like Fr. Barron does or you can interpret it existentially, when you see every moment as a possible "Grenzsituation" or a metaphorical end of days

    But most scholars agree, I think, that the early Christians belived in the incomming end of days literally

  12. i love how simply you put this…i am so tempted to post this on facebook for my friends…i espeically love how you answer the people who come on here to try and make you seem like a quak or someone who doesnt know anything about reality. you are a very smart individual and you have done your research, its refreshing to see you answer these people with such love and patience. i pray that i can be more like you in this way when it comes to my friends and family who have difficulty believing

  13. Loved it Father! I am having a great time watching your videos, I can't wait to see your entire series Catholicism..

  14. Isn't it obvious that this life is not where it's at. We're born, live a life of 80 (maybe) or so years, that is marked by some positive but mostly negative events..sickness, starvation, war etc. Consiser what 80 years is compared to eternity.. a flash of lightning. Maybe we should think a little more about our mortality and our limitations instead of programing our selfish egos to think that we can do it all..without God. We can't. Man needs to get off his "high horse" & back in his high chair.

  15. @slaveofmary3 don't forget the Spanish Revolution, the French Revolution, The Cristeros War of Mexico, It's becoming a trend really, whenever an Atheist rise to power, The Entire world suffers.

  16. @waisehell Two questions: (1) what exactly is wrong with the ancient God of Israel, and (2) if you are having a new deity simply because you have an issue with the old one, where has said deity been all this time?

    Alas, I suppose you can only say such a thing if you think religions are manmade. Sorry to disappoint you, but that just ain't so. There's one that isn't, and that's the Faith of the Church.

  17. @slaveofmary3 I actually think you should start by looking at electrical theory before you start trying to lecture on plasmas. You would know that a capacitor tends to leak electrcity. A natural capacitor would never retain any significant charge. Your theory is bunk, and gravity still rules. And seriously, do you want me to sit on you with the 10^30 kg sun? That's the scale you're up against.

  18. @slaveofmary3 On the quantum scale, you are correct – EM is stronger than gravity. On the macro scale, however, the sheer distances and masses involved means that gravity beats out everything. Seriously, Newton's Law of Gravitation is not hard to understand. Check the Sun's mass and its electrical activity, and see which is stronger through the solar system. It's not hard maths.

  19. @slaveofmary3 No, the deal was this: If you're right about this second coming bullshit, I'll accept the consequences of my life's beliefs (or lack thereof, rather) and face whatever may come – but if you're wrong, and jesus doesn't come back, you should go see jesus.

    And your line that murder is "the atheist way" .. well, that's just plain factually wrong. As for this website you want me to read, I'm not going to be convinced by it unless it first convinces me christianity is true

  20. @slaveofmary3 You just told me that the world is coming to an end within a year and if I don't repent I'll be sorry (i.e i'll be roasting in hell) and it seems you think I'd deserve it too. So why exactly should I be showing you any love whatsoever? Your god is one that demands both fear and love. I'm not a slave, I'm not a masochist. You can be if you want to, but don't ask me to. Now: How about my suggestion? Are you of strong enough a conviction to accept?

  21. @slaveofmary3 Yeah okay. Sure. Whatever. Want to make a bet? If the armageddon happens before january 1st 2013, I will gladly deny god and be sent to this hell you think I'll be going to – but if you wake up on january 1st 2013 and find the world is still here, then you gotta kill yourself. I don't care how you do it. Slit your wrists, shoot yourself in the head, hang yourself, whatever.. Just get it done. Do we have a deal?

  22. @wordonfirevideo I never said that fact changed your point. On the matter of the Big Crunch, that's been out of favour for over a decade. But a Big Nothing is probably just as bad. From the Abyss we were formed, and the Abyss we shall become (there won't be black holes by the time of the end of the universe!).

  23. @lawwellsy Well, so they say for the moment! It wasn't very long ago that many cosmologists were talking readily of a Big Crunch. We'll see what they come up with next. My overall point is that none of this really touches on philosophical or metaphysical issues.

  24. Father, just a note on modern cosmology – they've actually discovered that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate (hence the concept of dark matter/energy). There won't be a Big Crunch, just a Big Nothing (there won't even be black holes as the universe's temperature asymptotically approaches absolute zero).

    Just an FYI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *