FR. MICHAEL WRITES:-
‘Trumpocalypse!’ was one headline from a French newspaper following Mr Trump’s surprise win of the presidential election. The headline also indicates how reassuringly Christian the French cultural milieu remains given that the paper was confident that its readers would catch the allusion to the Bible’s last book. ‘Trumpageddon’ would have been along the same lines but rather more sinister given that Armageddon is the supposed site of the final battle inaugurating the end of the world as we know it. But Apocalypse is, in fact, something good. Both the Greek word itself and the Book of the Apocalypse, are about revelation, or, more literally, taking the lid off, in order to see into things. The doom and gloom, about which even Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel, is about this. It is not specifically about good things falling apart but about the Kingdom of God definitively breaking into history to raise humanity to its full destiny in Christ. The Apocalypse concludes with the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, that nuptial union of humanity and divinity in paradise.
However, as every engaged couple is aware, there are some major hurdles to overcome before the wedding day! Noting that Jesus is speaking about three different timelines helps us see some of the challenges. He’s speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 when He says “the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another”. He’s speaking about Judgement Day at the end of time when He says “and when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon”. And He’s talking about now, about what theologians call ‘the age of the Church’, that time since Jesus’ death and Resurrection and before His return at the Second Coming when he says “before all this happens men will seize you and persecute you—and that will be your opportunity to bear witness.” So we have our place in this. We prepare our own generation to be ready for whenever the great end comes by will of God, of course, not us. He asks us to bear witness to Him so that through us, in the beautiful words of the prophet Malachi in the first reading, “the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays”. We are to do this even throughout the earthquakes and plagues and famines and all the fearful sights wreaking their havoc upon the hapless peoples of the world. How? We could do nothing of ourselves but we are not alone. “You are not to prepare your defence as I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.” The Risen Jesus is with us. It is for all Christians, Mr Trump included of course, to strive for the Kingdom of God in which battle we are assured of victory. Indeed, “not a hair of your head will be lost”; a truth which might also be of interest to the President-Elect.