(Queue dramatic voice.) “If you had one week to live, what would you do?” This was a frequent conversation starter among my high school friends. The responses varied from traveling the world seeing the seven wonders, to spending time with family before our untimely demise. As much as it was a morbid question to ask in high school, it was meant to remove all distractions and point us to desires of the heart.
Every year as we approach the end of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time and move toward Advent, our Sunday readings turn toward the end of days or end times. In our Gospel we read, “All that you see here, the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another…” This points to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple which itself represents the cosmos. What is even more striking, however, is Jesus’ response as to when this will occur: “Nation will rise against nation…there will be…famines, and plagues.” According to Christ’s description, it may seem that we are fast approaching the second coming of Christ and the end of time.
However, the reason the Church has selected these readings is no different than the question we asked in high school. The Church is desiring for us to remove any and all distractions and have us turn to that which is most important – Our Lord.
Certainly, there are few who help us to do this very thing, like our seminarians—young men who show us that God is still very much alive and very much calling us to lay down our lives in service to God and our brothers and sisters. That’s why this weekend we are hearing a testimony from our seminarian, Jonathan Hernandez, in collaboration with our Diocesan Seminary Endowment Weekend. I truly believe that those who pursue religious vocations have the ability to point us past this world and point us to the Lord. Please continue to pray for our priests and religious, but also for more young men to answer the call to the priesthood. May we support them as they prepare to spiritually support us, our families, and our future generations.