Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
No human being can say. Christ Himself refused to give any definite information on the subject. "Of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father." Mk. XIII., 32. The uncertainty is deliberate, so that men will be encouraged to live good lives in constant expectation of the possible end. So, too, the moment of our death is uncertain, and for all practical purposes death is the final coming of Christ for us. For the soul is at once judged and declared definitely to be a subject of heaven or of hell.
In that text Christ says, "I tell you of a truth: There are some standing here that shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God." But those words have no reference to the end of the world. Christ often called His Church His Kingdom. When He said to St. Peter, "I will build my Church . . . and give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," He identified the two notions. Again, when He said that His kingdom was to be as a net holding good and bad fish He obviously referred to His Church in this world. And within thirty years of His death, that kingdom of Christ had spread throughout the known world, many, who had heard Christ, living to see its establishment. Meantime Christ's prediction that His Church would go to all nations, even to the uttermost parts of the earth, and His promise to be with it all days even to the end of the world, show that He did not expect the end of that world to be at hand. Also, He proved abundantly His divinity and knowledge of the future. It is absurd to say that He was not aware of the subsequent history of the world as it has actually unfolded itself.
St. Paul did not believe that the end was near. In 1 Thess. IV., 16, he says that the Lord will certainly come again, adding, "Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ." But he does not say that he himself and his listeners would still be living when Christ comes. He could not intend such a thing, knowing that it is not given to any many to know the day or the hour of Christ's coming. He knew simply that there will still be some Christians living on earth in that day, and intended "such of us Christians as may still be living." When Christ comes, St. Paul's words will be fulfilled. Evidently some of the Thessalonians misunderstood his words, for in his second epistle to them he writes, "Be not easily moved . . . neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand." 2 Thess. II., 2.
I do not think there is a single age in the history of the Church when men have not said that. And history has proved them wrong. You may think present signs proof, but Christ said that it is not given to man to know. At best we can but conjecture, and your opinion is nothing more than a conjecture. Christ gave general signs, it is true, but He purposely left them obscure, telling us that the end would certainly come, but not telling us when.
That is simply unhistorical. Hundreds of years ago the black death swept through Europe, and history is one long account of wars. I do not think that even the general signs given by Christ are approaching the completion of their fulfillment yet, and I do not think that the end is likely to occur in our own days. I do not claim to know, of course. You differ, thinking that the end is near at hand. But whether I am right or you are right, let us remember that as far as we are concerned individually, our own deaths will carry us to our personal judgments; and when our own deaths are to occur is God's secret. God can take me now as I am speaking to you, or you as you are listening to me. Let us both be ready to meet God with true sorrow for our sins and great love for Him when He does take us from this world.