The Signs of the Times

November 11, 2016
Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
The Gospel Today
Luke 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Jul Elden D. Nuique)

In today’s Gospel, the Evangelist relates how Jesus describes “the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (Lk 17, 30) The Lord tells of a typical day where people do ordinary things, yet such have been the events on the day of the destruction of Sodom. At the end of the account, Jesus describes reading the signs of the times.

A few weeks ago, we had our midpoint evaluation at the end of the first semester of seminary formation. I received much feedback, the positive ones outnumbered the negatives ones by a large margin. Yet it felt like the end of the world as I received the negative comments, especially the ones that judged my character as poorly, in fact, as downright insincere, therefore unbecoming of someone wanting to become a priest. It gave me sleepless nights, destroyed my peace of mind, and opened my spirit to self-destructive thoughts. I prayed desperately, begging God on my knees to grant me salvation from this suffering, no matter at what cost. In response, God reminded me of how I arrived at being in the seminary.

He allowed me to remember how my journey began with an intense longing to be free from all sorts of slavery: to the whim of my parents, to financial ambitions, and unhealthy relationships. I wanted nothing more than to be completely reliant on Christ: to breathe him in my lungs, for him to flow in my veins, for his Spirit to permeate me completely. Everything else was accidental to that life with Christ, including the priesthood. With that reminder from our Father, I was given back my focus on Christ and I relished the opportunity to share in his suffering and the gift of actual persecution.

Truly, following the Master means sharing in his passion, sinful as I am. If they are part of the signs of the times, I accept them as direction towards the path where God wants me to go, even if it leads away from the priesthood.

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