Ask Fr. John: Thoughts about the Mayan calendar

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What do you think about the end of the Mayan Calendar on Dec. 21? — AN

It seems there are two common opinions regarding Dec. 21, 2012. One is that it signifies the end of the world; another is that it signifies a major world transformation.
Since, for most Christians, “the end of the world” means “the second coming,” and since this can be a source of anxiety, this is the signification I will address.
The Lord spoke clearly on this subject. “No one knoweth the day and hour.” Matt. 24:36. This includes the Mayans. For Christians, “the apocalypse,” is indicated by “the second coming.”
The Second Coming is frankly none of our business. To think that it is prelest — the worst spiritual delusion. The Lord did not say, “try to figure out the day and hour.” Rather, He said “watch,” “be ready.” Orthodox do not live our spiritual lives based on the second coming, but rather, on the fact that he is already in our midst today, in his body, the church.
Many Christian groups and sects have become so concerned with the end times that it has become a way to manipulate others, as well as a source of distraction, division and fear.
On the other hand, some think “the second coming” is a “religious myth.” Orthodox disagree with both opinions. The concept of “the second coming” or “apocalypse” should not become an idol, that is, giving it the attention due to God alone.
By contrast, just because he hasn’t come in 2,000 years does not mean that he isn’t coming.
No one can know the day and hour of the second coming or our death. Therefore, we focus on striving to be ready more, from moment to moment, through our Orthodox lifestyle.
We are preparing to receive Christ fully today, which is preparing for death or “the second coming.” Our Orthodox lifestyle trains us to love and focus on God without distraction and to love one another.
These two prepare us to receive him today and in the future. We choose to focus on loving, living, and being fully ready to receive the Lord right now, and if we are prepared now, we are prepared for the future.