The Antiochian biblical commentator, Theodoret of Cyrus, writing in the 5th Century makes a comment that Christians have thought in almost every century since the time of Christ: things are so bad now that it has to be the “end times.” During Holy Week the Church reminds us through its Gospel readings and hymns to think about the “last things” – our world which rejected its Creator and God and nailed Him to a cross is facing an impending judgment. Commenting on the words of St. Paul in one of his epistles, Theodoret’s words resonate with many 21st Century Christians:
Then he foretells the coming ruin of most members of the churches, teaching him not to be upset by the indifference of some, as those coming later will be in a far worse plight. Be aware of this, that in the last days there will be the threat of difficult times: there will be people who are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, arrogant, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, loveless, implacable, slanderous, licentious, unfeeling, uninterested in the good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, in love with pleasure rather than God, bearing the semblance of piety but denying its efficacy (2 Timothy 3:1-5). In my view he has this age in mind in his prophecy: our lifetime is full of these vices, and though we don the trappings of piety, we are building the idol of wickedness in our works.
I mean, we have become attached to money rather than devoted to God, we embrace the slavery of the passions, and to put it in a nutshell, you could find us all in the other vices the divine apostle cited. (Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, pp. 243-244)
It is pretty hard to imagine that life in the 5th Century was as devoted to money as is our current age. We measure everything in terms of money and value things above people and set the worth of people almost entirely by what they can produce. Even churches see their success in terms of how much money they can raise. What is the value of godliness?