Dear friends, in the last few issues we have been meditating much on this whole topic of the “troubled times” or what is known as the “divine chastisements” which are mentioned especially in Matthew 24; and we have seen how most of these events have already taken place all around the world. The very few who have been observing these events very closely know that the situation is worsening and that we are approaching the peak of the divine chastisement very quickly. But what do the rest have to say?
Sadly, the vast majority of Christians seem to be living in an illusion as far as the “troubled times” are concerned. They think that all this will never happen, and they even tell others that it will never happen. What is even worse is that there are some who make fun of those who are taking seriously the warnings of Jesus. Well, the root cause of a person having such an attitude is because he is controlled by his own lust.
St. Peter writes… First of all, you must understand that in the last days some people will appear whose lives are controlled by their own lusts. They will make fun of you and will ask, "He promised to come, didn't he? Where is he? Our ancestors have already died, but everything is still the same as it was since the creation of the world!" (2 Peter 3:3-4). Those who are controlled by their lust find it insensible to stop living by the standards of the world and start living by God’s standards. For them, life goes on.
Nothing can prevent them from satisfying their lust for the pleasures of this world. Whether the chastisement is coming upon them at a personal level in the form of sickness, disease, joblessness, etc., or whether is coming upon the whole country in which they are living, maybe in the form of a war or an economic collapse, or whether it is coming upon the whole world in the form of a pandemic, World War, etc. Whichever form, it makes no difference to them.
It is like what happened when God’s chastisement came upon the whole world at the time of Noah. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, and men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat... (Luke 17:27). The same response was seen when God’s chastisement came upon the whole country at the time of Lot… It will be as it was in the time of Lot. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. (Luke 17:28).
There is also a category of people who know that the world is heading toward the peak of God’s chastisement but they feel that there is still time and they can continue enjoying the pleasures of the world at least for some time. Such people are no better. The same spirit of lust operates in them as well. The only difference here is they feel that there is a right moment when they will have to act.
They feel that they will be able to put their spiritual life in order when that moment comes. But they do not know that getting pre-occupied with the world dims a person and he will never be able to recognise the right time. That is what happened to the people at the time of Noah… they did not realize what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. (Matthew 24:39a). And Jesus went on to say, “That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 24:39b). Further, St. Peter warns… The Lord is not slow to do what He has promised, as some think. Instead, He is patient with you, because He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief… (2 Peter 3:9-10)
Coming back to those few who know that there is not much time left. We must bear in mind that one could still get into the error of only gathering information and speculating how things are going to unfold. This will be of no help and such a person may end up having the same fate as those controlled by their lust.
Therefore, what is the kind of response that God is expecting from us in these times? St. Peter writes… Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon... (2 Peter 3:11-12). From what we just read, Peter sounded like the chastisement would reach its peak in a few days after writing the letter. But that was the kind of attitude the early Christians had. They lived as though they were already in the last days. But their concern was not so much about the last days. It was about living a holy life. We too must have the same attitude.
Whichever year, month or day and at whatever time the chastisement may reach its peak, our focus must be on being holy and living a life that is dedicated to God. At all times, we must want to do not our will but His will; we must live by His standards and not according to the standards of the world. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. (Romans 12:2).
Therefore, let us dedicate our lives to Jesus; let us live for Him alone who has died for us. (2 Corinthians 5:15). Let us rely on His mercy and grace. The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and keep you safe from the Evil One. (2 Thessalonians 3:3).