Thy Kingdom Come: Why We Shouldn’t Fear the End Times

Hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist threats, mass shootings – if you watch the news these days you could be tempted to go hide under the bed. These events bring on talk of the end times that we are warned about in the New Testament. The apostles expected Jesus to return at any moment, though He told them they “would not know the day nor the hour.” We don’t know it either, and every generation has seen it coming. Still, there’s no doubt that the events we’re experiencing today can bring on anxiety. So what do today’s theologians have to say?

“We’re definitely facing some ‘apocalyptic’ problems right now: the prospects of nuclear war, genetic manipulation and a breakdown of family life,” says Dr. Jared Staudt, PhD, the Catechetical Formation Specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver. “We can’t say for sure that we are facing the end times, but we are at least seeing a foreshadowing of those challenges.”

St. John Paul II also felt change coming, and said in a speech in 1976, “We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist.”

Talk like that can bring on a sense of helplessness and even a temptation to despair, but that’s where faith comes in, because St. John Paul also famously said, “Be not afraid.” In the same address, he pointed out, “The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s plan.” Meaning God has us in the palm of his hand. He will take care of us.

“For Christians, the coming of Christ is not something to fear, but to expect with hope,” Staudt adds, pointing out that a central prayer for the early Christians was ‘Maranatha,’ meaning ‘Come Lord!’ As Christians, we do have to expect suffering and persecution. I say that so that we don’t despair when we face them. Jesus has promised to be with us and to give us His comfort and joy even in the midst of trials.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also talks of the end times in a spirit of hope:

In the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come” refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ’s return.88 But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who “complete[s] his work on earth and brings us the fullness of grace.”89“The kingdom of God [is] righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”90 The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit.

And that’s the key. Without the end times there can be no Second Coming, there can be no “new heaven and a new earth.” We can find comfort in the very prayer that Jesus taught us. While we don’t know when, we do accept with faith that He will come again, He promised it, and we should mean it when we say, “Thy kingdom come.”

Monica Hannan is a three-time Emmy-Award- winning television anchor, talk show host and news manager at NBC affiliate, KFYR-TV, in Bismarck, ND. She has been in the broadcast industry for 35 years, and currently works as the Managing Editor at KFYR-TV, while hosting North Dakota Today in the mornings and co-anchoring The Evening Report at 6 p.m. Her latest book, Gift of Death- A Message of Comfort and Hope, tells of her father’s journey toward death, interlaced with personal, uplifting and amazing stories of people’s final moments on earth. She is also the author of The Dream Maker, which chronicles the life of God’s Child Project founder Patrick Atkinson; Nice and Fat, which she authored with health and fitness expert Renita Brannan; and she is the co-author of Dakota Daytrips and More Dakota Daytrips. Monica has published articles in numerous national and regional magazines, including Highlights for Children, Historic Traveler and RTNDA Communicator. She is married to Cliff Naylor and they have three children, ranging in age from 20 to 30.