A major discussion in our humble city of Reno Nevada, and in our churches, is that next year, starting tomorrow, is to be short ten days. The local History Channel and the Science Channel constantly have reports on the issue. The winter solstice of December 21 is the end of the world, at least as we know it. This idea comes from several places; the Maya, the Hopi, and our book of Revelations. The Maya and the Hopi were polytheistic religions steeped in culture and have much to teach us Europeans. Their polytheism is relevant to our discussion.
Revelations 8:7-13, speaks of a great mountain being thrown into the sea with fire, hail, and blood. The water turns into Absinth. St. John wrote Revelations in or around the year 95 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Mount Vesuvius is under a thousand miles west of Patmos, where St. John wrote. The destruction St. John records is very similar to the damage of Mount Vesuvius. Revelations 8:8 records, “Something like a large burning mountain was hurled into the sea.” A very large mountain, Mount Vesuvius, was thrown into the sea.
Revelations 9 states, “The appearance of the locusts was like that of horses ready for battle… They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in… Greek is Apollyon.” The uniform of the 15th Roman Legion is identical to the locusts and had the nickname, Apollyon. The Roman crossbow was the scorpion. The locusts on horses were the 15th Roman Legion in the year 70.
Revelations chapter 13 reads. “I saw a beast come out of the sea… The Taanah gave it its own power and throne…”
“Dragon”/”Taanah” is the Hebrew term for “dragon,” “Taanah” is also another term for the first century rabbis. It is important that we note, “First Century,” rabbis. The first century rabbis had a relationship with Rome allowing them to remain in authority and the Romans to collect taxes. The passage refers only to the relationship between Rome and the first century Jewish authorities. That relationship is gone forever. It cannot refer to any relationship that exists today or the future. Revelations refers only to the events of the first century.
In our Mass we say, “Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.” Christ is coming and it may be this year. Jesus command to us in this regard in Luke 12:35-48, “Be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding…”
That passage brings to mind the story of the children waiting for parents to return from a long trip. The children can wait at the window, looking for the lights of their parent’s car and the sound of its engine while the house is filthy and disorganized. These children are the fundamentalists looking in the prophets and Revelations for the signs of Christ’s coming while the rich they vote for exploit the poor and the earth for all of its resources. Of these, Jesus says, “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely.”
Jesus tells us, “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” If we exit Mass at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada and are hit by a city bus, for us, the second coming is today. For all we know, Jesus is descending upon the Mount of Olives as we speak. Be Ready!