by Clyde Nolasco
Up On A Sycamore
Is it the end of the world?
As of the beginning of March, the Wuhan Novel CoronaVirus, now officially named COVID-19, has infected almost 100,000 people globally, with most of those diagnosed coming from mainland China.
The death toll is at least 3,300 worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Travel bans have been imposed worldwide and border shutdowns have also been observed, especially with China and neighboring nations.
Last January 12, Taal Volcano erupted - a phreatic eruption from its main crater that spewed ashes across Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon. For a couple of weeks, the volcano was placed on Alert Level 4 because of its non-stop spewing of smoke, ashes and lava. Ashfall even reached most of Metro Manila and some parts of Central Luzon.
Batangas was declared under a state of calamity. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) even reported that there was a possibility that a major explosion would occur.
The scenic volcano proved that it can also be monstrous.
At the beginning of the year, the world was asked to pray for Australia because of the massive and destructive bushfire that started in 2019 that sent half a billion innocent wildlife to their fiery end. Not only hundreds but thousands were displaced and fled for their lives.
We welcomed 2020 with the threat of World War III as the US killed the top General of Iran during an airstrike in Baghdad.
Not to mention, there were earthquakes in different parts of the world, including Turkey where 36 people were killed and 1,607 injured.
The world was even devastated by the passing of THE Kobe Bryant. Even the non-ballers grieved as we lost a hardcourt legend and a faithful Catholic.
Because January 2020 brought a lot of nerve-racking headlines, the online world considered the month itself meme-worthy.
And with all these, many were moved to ask, “Is it the start of the end of the world? Is it the apocalypse already?”
Scientific calculations reckon that the Earth will cease in 7.59 billion years. And the world is said to be 4.54 billion years old, so we are 3.05 billion years away from our Mother Earth’s deterioration.
Usually, when we mention the end of the world, we would end up also talking about “the apocalypse.”
Apocalypse means “revelation” in Greek thus the last book of our Bible contains the apocalyptic prophecy.
If apocalypse is but revelation, what is being revealed to us?
Looking at the things 2020 is giving us, these are signs of the times in many forms, packed in different surprises:
We have crossed and destroyed the boundaries between humans and nature.
Diseases that were originally only found in animals are now infecting a vast number of humans even as people enjoy exotic meals and intrude into animals' habitats.
Fighting and blaming are not going to solve our problems.
In these tough times, focusing on individual differences will not help us to get through these challenges. Charity must go beyond politics, race, or even religions.
Our lives are numbered and death is inevitable.
The death tolls from these catastrophes are reminding us of the reality of death. Everything and everyone has an end. We are but pilgrims here on earth.
As we near the end, as many would say, let us look back on how God created the world.
God created us out of His love, there was harmony.
Let our concern for each other destroy indifferences, not our forests; let discipline break our selfish habits not our humanity. Together, with our faith in God and love for each other, we will all be back in Paradise.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.