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Sunday, August 28, 2011

At The Threshold

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive..." - 2 Timothy 3:1,2

Historical accounts would tell, today marks the first time New York City - the mega city that it is -is closed for a reason - a hurricane - unprecedented in magnitude that is expected to wreak havoc on the city. Airports have been shutdown,  public transit system halted, businesses that make the city the world's financial capital spontaneously stopped operation, and regrettably, the US Open which I have been earnestly waiting to watch live on television, understandably had to bow down to Irene the hurricane. Sixty five million people are said to be  living on the harm's way, with an unprecedented massive evacuation that has been taking place already.

While Irene takes landfall on North Carolina for her expected pummeling spree all over East Coast of the Atlantic, Mina on the other hand has already started her orgy of destruction on Northern Luzon. Landslides that caused deaths this early has been reported already and the death toll of course is expected to rise.

Yesterday,  Al Jazeera was beaming graphic images from Tripoli with the city literally chokes on stench coming from dead bodies that litter around the city. Dead bodies on top of another become a mundane scenario that serves as backdrop for fleeing little children gripping the hands of their parents in search for refuge as the city has turned into an apocalyptic war zone. Even a dying boy who lies unattended in a hospital bed for lack of medics and equipments, proudly displays a V-sign. Several other injured from the battle have managed to drag themselves into hospital corridors as blood splatter all over the aisle until they reached a doctor-less emergency room till rigor mortis sets in their bodies.

In Syria, tens if not scores are reported to be dead everyday due to a government-sanctioned killings of civilian protesters who have grown weary of a corrupt and repressive government of Bashar Assad. Hundreds of thousands have already been displaced to the neighboring Turkey in the north, some, even old men die of their injuries upon reaching the border as government soldiers go on their shooting spree of the fleeing civilians. Assad would not back down from his murderous rampage of the civilian population he labels as terrorists.

Just weeks ago, rioting took place in the cities of England where young men went on looting businesses and setting fire to establishments and offices, passersby even robbed and mugged for no reason at all. What makes it incomprehensible is that, this normally does not happen in rich and highly-civilized countries like the UK. No matter what prompted this unheard of violence, no rationale can ever justify this reprehensible act that has put the country's reputation in murky water. It was just that simple, thousands of rioters felt obligated to join the bandwagon of violence forgetting their basic humanity attributed with reason.

At the Horn of Africa, where aid agencies astoundingly announced that famine brought about by drought could cause millions of deaths especially children, aids of food and medicines are being routinely ransacked and plundered by Muslim militias so that they themselves benefit from them and the needy goes on to die from deprivation. International agencies feel crippled and helpless knowing that very little aid reaches the needy because of these Muslim militias that feel empowered and divinely ordained to rob at gunpoint the very basic needs intended for the needy.

Yesterday, Al Qaeda militants had bombed the UN building in Abuja, Nigeria initially killing 18 people. All fatalities were civilians who had spent most of their lives helping other people in need. UN Sec. Gen Ban Ki Moon said, the building housed 26 different aid agencies tasked to distribute aids and medicines to the unfortunate people of the continent. They just died that easy. 

A day before yesterday, 53 people were killed in a casino in the city of Monterrey in Mexico, when drug syndicates set fire to the building where the victims were trapped and  burned alive. The president of Mexico has decreed  four days of mourning for the victims. So many lives lost inexplicably when evil doers are on the prowl.

At a glance of the news, our reaction comes naturally - to cringe for wasted lives due to violence birthed by man's loss of rationality. But somehow we feel immune to the things that have become a way of life for  most of us. Hardly these things strike a surprise. Maybe this is how our planet concurs to Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory. Certainly, these do not stop us to go on with our lives, and understandably, some would even trivialize these as much as we treat it like things of the ordinary. But what if these were the precursor of greater/terrible things to come? What if these were warnings that we failed to heed?

From nature's fury to man-made disasters, every phenomenon seems to be an indicator that the world has reached  greater lengths ominously forewarned in the Bible. In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul says that this world is ruled by wicked spiritual forces, they are the rulers of this dark age. And yes, many would scoff at the truth, just like in the days of Noah. But the Bible clearly warns, " But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." (2Timothy 3:1-5)

Matthew 24: 3-14
As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, "Tell us when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, "I am the Messiah," and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and report of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.


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Some of the photos above courtesy of Arnaldo Arnáiz Díaz

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