Wow - all the scuttlebutt on the blogs, Facebook and Twitter about 89-year-old Rev. Harold Camping's claim, based on some arcane numerology involving scripture, that the Rapture ("Judgment Day") will occur on May 21 (tomorrow) has me reminiscing. There was the Millennium thing - when many people thought it would happen at the stroke of midnight January 1, 2000. Then, with the popularity of the Left Behind book series, there was a resurgence of interest between then and 2003. The thing that frightened me then was that so many Catholics were reading these books or absorbing the message that Scripture says a Rapture is part of the end-times scenario.
"Statement on Left Behind Books and Videos" - and during the process came to the conclusion that better catechesis about what the Church really teaches about the End Times is part of the solution. The bishops agreed: We, the Catholic Bishops of Illinois, call upon those responsible for faith formation to provide planned, coherent, and informed catechesis to all age groups about Church teachings on the end of the world, based on scripture and tradition.
While there has been some minor progress - at least one book and an article in a major national magazine was written in response to the statement - I am afraid the information has not filtered down to the average Catholic. Still, it is heartening that most people are joking about tomorrow because they realize that Rev. Camping is a crackpot and that his private revelation, based on the numbers, predicting tomorrow's non-event is just one more in a series of dire predictions about the end of the world and is nonsense.
Tomorrow night, as I join other members of National Association of Catholic Media Professionals (NACMP) at their evening social before the NCCL annual conference in Atlanta, I will lift a glass with the others, celebrating the Rapture that wasn't. We will not know the day nor the hour of Christ's coming. It is a clear case of MYOB and don't worry about it. Jesus will come when he gets here. And he is only making the return trip once.