The Love Of Many Will Grow Cold
This is a heartbreaking statement in the ‘Olivet Discourse’ of our Lord (Mk. 13:3). We find extremely difficult to gulp it down and we wonder how true are His words in today’s world scenario? The purpose of the discourse is to warn the disciples of the dangers that lie ahead: persecutions, false prophets and messiahs, rumors of wars and wars, natural calamities and catastrophes of various magnitudes.
The growth of coldness in love is something cosmic – continent to continent, nation to nation, tribe to tribe and family to family. This spiritual cold wave, now swept over the face of the earth is something concomitant to the ‘increase of lawlessness’ in the world. Mathean usage of the verb psucho (blow cold) in the passive voice indicates an act of cooling by blowing.
Neither Hot nor Cold
Another aspect of the cold wave manifests itself in a life of lukewarmness – neither enthusiastic nor tepid. The Church in Laodicea once fervent fell into this trap of tepidity. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:15-17).
They lived a type of cogitative vegetative life of comfort and ease. “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness” (Jer 48:10). The ‘slothful servant’ received a harsher punishment (Mt. 25:26).
Increase of Lawlessness
Lawlessness is a ‘mystery’ according to St. Paul. None can totally comprehend the mystery of evil in this world. “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thess 2:7). How can a good God allow it happen? Why does the just suffer? This inscrutable mystery is closely related to ‘the man of lawlessness’ and ‘the son of destruction’ (2 Thess 2:3).
St. Paul forewarns about the distressing signs of the last days. “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of religion but denying its power. Avoid them!” (2 Tim 3:2-5).
In a long list of twenty traits, what horrifies the reader is the use of some of the strongest expressions like, the ‘inhuman’ and the ‘brutes’ or the ‘savage’, who are wild in their behaviors. The Greek term astorgoi implies the heartless ones, bereft of any human affection. Similarly anemeroi denotes the untamed animals, irrational and unreasonable in their behaviors.
Redemption and restoration would be preceded by a period of unprecedented spiritual and moral chaos, and rampant religious apostasy, where the tyranny of relativism raises its ugly head; and nobody can say anything to anyone (2 Tim 2:1-12).
People should be dissatisfied with anything material. Why? Our hearts are created for God and it cannot rest in anywhere in creation or among the creatures, but in God alone. The religious indifference would be manifested in coldness in things related to God and the supernatural. In fact, some would be allergic to it and they ‘switch off’ their ears to any mention of it. What do they want? Shall we play the flute? Will you dance? No. Shall we play the dirges? Will you cry? No. They are like children sitting in the supermarket dissatisfied with anything in life (Mt. 11:16-17).
Hardening of Heart
Most of the hearts become hardened as it happened to Pharaoh, in spite of the fact that he witnessed numerous portents and signs performed by Moses. Some hearts will ‘grow faint’ with fear of the evil reports (in the mass-media). Still other hearts will be ‘weighed down’ with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.
The mystery of the ‘hardening’ of the heart of Israel until the full number of the gentiles coming in remains incomprehensible. As regards the Gospel, many Christians today are ‘enemies of God’ (Rom. 11:28).
At this juncture of history, what is required of believer is endurance, which alone will save him. A faithful disciple of Christ must bear witness against the godless nation, with heroic courage and perseverance. The gospel of the Kingdom must be preached throughout the whole world; and then the end will come, when the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come, Come Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:17, 20).
– – – written by Fr. J. Eapen SDB