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Anno Domini

State of the Union: What is common about our era?

Jesus in garden of Gethsemane

In the environs of Judea, history is rent in two with the tearing of the veil. The master lifts his face to Heaven and declares it finished.

Truly, this man was the Son of God.

Surely, what my colleague John Hirschauer writes in his latest column is true, as has been revealed to us through the life and works of Our Lord. This man was the Son of God. History was rent in two.

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To take John’s words and the immense theological meaning they’re meant to imbue all too literally, even the way in which we measure the passage of time and situate historical events or ourselves within the ongoing narrative of God’s creation is split between the coming of Christ. 

In recent decades, however, there has been an effort to secularize the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII who introduced it in the 16th century. What was “before Christ” and “anno Domini,” has been changed to Before Common Era (BCE) and Common Era (CE).

It raises the question: what is the commonality of our era? It is, and will be until the end days, the new covenant, instituted by the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 

Surveying the political and cultural landscape, it's increasingly hard to see that commonality in America, much less the world. But this commonality is not merely a matter of social convention. Appeals to how many say Christ is Lord and how many do not is no escape from God’s eternal judgment.

Yet, many Christians have grown complacent with efforts to make that which is common increasingly viewed as exclusive. They have fallen asleep like the apostles in the garden of Gethsemane. Our task is to stay awake, stand guard, and pray to Our Lord.

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