Dear Fr. Joe: Is the world ending in 2012?

Dear Fr. Joe: Is the world ending in 2012?

Q: What’s the deal with the year 2012?  Is the world really going to end?
 

A: I’ve been getting a bunch of these…let’s get right to it.

First of all, let’s name the situation: In the last couple of years, great attention has been drawn to a calendar created and used by many of the pre-Columbian meso-american cultures. Most people simply call it the Mayan Calendar. Anyway, this calendar is notable for many features, not the least of which is the fact that it abruptly ends on December 21, 2012.

This fact has caused a stir on the Internet and even resulted in the making of a very expensive movie named (oddly enough) 2012. The focus of the movie and, in fact, of the stories and panic on the Internet is the fear that this is when the world is going to end. Many Christians who tend to focus on the end of the world and other such things tend to really cling to stuff like this.

So, is the world going to end in 2012?

Yes.

I’m kidding … really.

There are several problems with this apocalyptic theory, some of them from the calendar itself and others from Scripture. Let’s start with the calendar.

First of all, I’ve read a few articles that mention that the Mayan calendar was never meant to be viewed this way. As an example, some of the Mayan inscriptions contain prophecies about events that are to occur after the month of December 2012. That alone should quiet any talk about it, but it doesn’t. 

This is from an article in USA Today on March 27, 2008:

“But scholars are bristling at attempts to link the ancient Maya with trends in contemporary spirituality. Maya civilization, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished for centuries in Mesoamerica, especially between A.D. 300 and 900. Its Long Count calendar, which was discontinued under Spanish colonization, tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero.

“For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,” says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”

So. There we have it. Plenty of reason to not fear an upcoming apocalypse because of the Mayan Calendar.

In case that is not enough for you, let’s read the words of Jesus:

But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36)

Or how about this one?

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Luke 12:39 & 40)

Jesus makes it clear in Matthew that this knowledge belongs only to the Father. Anyone trying to tell you something different is a huckster. Look at the Luke passage again –based on it, you could actually say that any day someone predicts the world is going to end is a day it definitely won’t.

Here’s the thing in a nutshell, brothers and sisters – it’s not our business to know when the world is going to end. It’s our business to be prepared every moment of every day for that end. God’s goal is not to trick us or share some secrets with only a few: God’s goal is to get us to heaven, all of us.

Enjoy another day in God’s presence!