The End. Apocalypse. Revelation. I was 12 years old when the new millennium broke out. Year 2000 was welcomed with full of Y2K bug crap and end of the world paranoia. Computers, according to that Y2k bug are not programmed to accommodate that 000 reset and this was supposed to make banks, healthcare, power grids, and basically anything that’s electronic or programmed to malfunction or shut down completely.
In the meanwhile, the Philippines during that time when the world was busy worrying about finance and commerce, was busy worrying about “the end of the world”.There were groups of people who were literally caving in! Some sects (or cults) left their houses and hid inside some caves which according to their beliefs a.k.a. interpretation of the bible, could be their safe haven when the deluge happen. One crazy question then was: if the end was coming on January 1 2000, what country would be obliterated first? This world uses different timezones anyway.
New Year in the year 2000 was celebrated with a louder than loud bang. Fireworks display were all the rage. Each country had their own flamboyant display, not to be outdone by another. Same goes in our neighborhood where the New Year was welcomed with the loudest firecrackers Bocaue could ever invent. That was no ordinary New Year. It was the New Year and the New Millennium. Dogs were crouching in fear. I woke up by midnight in fear.
The crazy, coward, 12 year old me believed that there might be a tinge of truth in the end of the world paranoia. That was lame and a shame, I know! That tinge became more vivid and vivid that by 10 minutes that firecrackers were resounding in all corners of the forest where I lived, I wanted to throw up – like how I would weirdly acted as a child whenever I’m nervous or stressed (e.g. first day of school, when my grandfather died, etc.).
The sounds were diminishing slowly after half an hour. By 1am, bangs were dying down. I was able to go back to sleep then woke up again in the morning. Everything was the same except that it wasn’t. A new millennium has broken.
The end has always scared me. Revelation, I thought, is the last book in the Bible that states all the frightful things of the pending apocalypse. Good thing this view slowly changed when I started to learn more about God – our merciful God.
One “Christian” book I read as a child said that, the end of the world should not be feared. We should not wish it not to happen. It would be like saying, “Jesus, don’t come back again to save us.” I was about 10 years old then. Time passed and I went on living my life, this idea slipped, or was pushed out, or tucked into oblivion for when you are young, the end seemed nowhere in sight.
One and a half decades later, a priest gave a talk during one retreat. He was reading all these passages from Revelation reminding me again that the end will come, it’s inevitable and wait, I will see it in my lifetime? If not,I’ll probably rise from the dead to witness it still. Nobody knows when it could be – a few minutes from now, next day, in a span of 10 years. Nobody knows but it will surely come. Frightening but it turned out, as explained, Revelation is a book explaining the liturgy. More liturgical than a book of doom. My cowardly 12 year old heart which was about to throw up upon hearing apocalyptic phrases was put to rest. Thank God, it is not literal!
In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Mark 13:24-25)
The homily this Sunday shines a different light to the end. The words have got to be the most comforting, reassuring words I’ve heard in a long while. Like everyone else, I would have my ups and downs spiritually. For weeks now, I’ve been praying to be granted an increase in faith. I would tell God to take care of His cowardly child. This Sunday he answered.
Hindi nagtatapos ang lahat sa kapighatian
Nagtatapos ito sa kaligtasan.
Ang paghihirap ay prelude sa pagliligtas ng Panginoon.
“If we fear the end then we have it all wrong!” Suddenly, the scariest of statements became a source of newfound confidence. It’s now not a denial that scary things will happen. All these abnormal scary things will surely happen! But you know what I will be unscathed and that’s because I have a merciful God. A God who loves me, who will protect me, a god who is faithful to His promise that:
But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.” will be like a shining star! (Daniel 12:3)
This cowardly inner child is afraid of the unknown. Today I found out, heard for the first time despite how many times she had been told, that the future is certain! And that it is up to us whether we spend eternity in heaven or in hell.