The movie Apocalypse now, partly filmed on Philippine locations, portrays the horror of the Vietnam war and of any war for that matter, evoking such prophetic visions found in the Bible, suggesting that the end of the world is at hand.
In Christian theology, apocalypse is classified as Eschatology, the study of the things to come, like the end of the world, judgment and eternal life. Apocalyptic writings refers to Scripture texts about the imminent destruction of the world and the salvation of the righteous. Eschatology is a basic component of the study of theology as it relates to the themes that give consoling hope of God’s promise of salvation and eternal life.
In our own time, we look at dangers that threaten even the very survival of the human race or of this world as we know it. Predictions of the end of the world have been made throughout history, growing out of the threatening disasters and the literal interpretation of biblical passages. In the face of suffering, danger and persecution, we have to hold on to our faith in God’s love in our lives. We have to look forward to the eternal life that Christ, through his mercy and love, has gained for us through his own suffering, death and resurrection.
As trees shed leaves for the winter during this Month of Remembrance, we turn our thoughts to the final things. We reflect on death, judgment and eternal life. As we prepare for a new liturgical year, the Church asks us to reflect on the final end. We look at death as a time of fulfillment of our journey to the Father, even as we look forward to that time with a mixture of hope and fear. Our apocalyptic readings today remind us that our journey in this life is indeed short and that we don’t even know the hour of our own death when we have to reckon with our Creator the life we have live on borrowed time.
“Lord God, whose days are without end and whose mercies beyond counting, keep us mindful that life is short and the hour of our death in unknown. Let your Spirit guide our days on earth in the ways of holiness and justice, that we may serve you in union with the whole Church, sure in faith, strong in hope, perfected in love. And when our journey is ended, lead us rejoicing into your kingdom, where you live for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rite of Committal, Order of Christian Funerals)