In the Gospel Jesus spoke of the end of the world, concluding by saying no one, not even the angels know when it will be.
When Jesus spoke of the world coming to an end he seemed to be speaking of just our world, this third planet out from the sun, not of the whole universe, coming to an end. The Book of Revelations speaks of the sea being no more, and of a new Jerusalem coming down from above; but it doesn’t say anything about an end to all the stars.
They say there are millions of stars out there, and that there may be millions of worlds out there too. The thought of them makes us feel less important.
No one can tell us if more than our own world is slated for destruction. As Jesus said, no one can tell us how or when the end will come. But of course, there is one way we can have some certitude about the world coming to an end. Like they say, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Death will be the end of the world even for all the children in our parish grade school.
My thoughts of the world coming to an end at our deaths go back to an article I read about suicide. What struck me was the reason certain Jewish rabbis had for condemning suicide. They said that for each of us the world is nothing more than what we experience of the world. From that they go on to say that when a person commits suicide he does away with the world as he knows it. For him committing suicide is like killing off the whole world.
Following on what those Jewish rabbis say about each person being his own world, I have been looking at strangers as worlds to themselves. Looking at a woman sitting three seats in front of me on the bus I start thinking about her private world. She has ancestor going back to Adam and eve. She has the memories of her first hair bow, and her first high school beau. Her soul has circling satellites of the relatives who treat her well, and relatives who treat her badly.
I said a few minutes ago that scientists tell us there are millions of stars out there, and there may be millions of worlds out there. Then, moving out from the idea the rabbis suggest to us that every person is his or her own world, we are led to think of Jacksonville as having a million individual worlds
And, to bring this ramble to an end, the thought that I am surrounded by a million individuals, with each of them being a unique world to itself, I come to see that I am not all that special. The best I can do is to respectfully fit in with this galaxy of wonderful people.