Our Greater End

The first time I thought about the priesthood was my junior year in High School. I saw a video at a conference called The Fishers of Men. In this video, they dramatically recreated a scene when a priest stuck in a traffic jam realizes a young man is near his death. He runs forward to give him the last rites. It was well done, but there was something about that story that caught my attention and began to make me think, “I can see myself doing that.” A few years later, in my first year in seminary, I was with Fr. Andrew, here at this parish, and I experienced for the first time someone receiving the last rites. Fr. Andrew did everything he had to do, but on our way back, we find out the person passed away a few minutes after we left. I, to this day, believe that Fr. Andrew’s ministry helped her prepare for her journey to her eternal resting place. That event became important in my own discernment. That event I saw portrayed in that movie was lived out in my life. Again, I could see myself doing that and finding fulfillment in that ministry.
What I came to realize in my prayer was that as a priest, I will be and now am preparing someone to meet the Lord. While to the world, it may not seem that significant, that ministry of a priest in the eyes of God is vital. The priest is providing a person a help towards eternal life. Our time here on earth is not forever and comes to an end. However, we were created by God to be with him for all eternity. Priests help us enter eternal life, what we were created for, and what our ultimate destiny is. I must admit this is what attracted me to the priesthood, helping God’s children enter eternal life.
Our reading speak to us about the life to come. In our Gospel, we hear an interesting question posed to Jesus. In Jewish practice, if a husband died without a child, it would be the brother’s responsibility to father a child with his wife. In the situation described, they said seven brothers all died, leaving the wife childless, and finally, she died. They asked Jesus, “Now at the resurrection, whose wife will that woman be?” Jesus responded by saying no-one. This answer may surprise you or even bring you some concern. Jesus is trying to teach us that our ultimate destination is with God in heaven, and that when we make it into heaven, we will be united with God. In a way, we will all be married to God in heaven. We will be united with God in heaven, and that is what God created us for. We will still know our loved ones, and we will be intimately united with our loved ones. However, our ultimate union will be with God in heaven.
The reading from Maccabees as well speaks to us about eternal life with God. The seven brothers and mother all were faithful to God because they realized that the things of this earth are only temporary, and the things to come are eternal and will never be taken away from us! They were willing to die because they knew God would resurrect them and restore them to life. IF they decided to eat the pork, they would have put their salvation at risk. It reminds me of another Gospel passage. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? They realized that what we earn on this earth ultimately means nothing if it doesn’t help us reach our eternal destination in heaven.
I believe God’s challenge to us is to keep our eyes on heaven every day of our lives, and the things of the earth should be at our service for the items we will receive in heaven. It makes me think of sports and the ultimate goal that they have. I know for LSU, who I hope wins today, the focus is on the national championship this year. Just like ours is on heaven for our lives. However, we need to be focused on one day at a time one decision at a time and so many other things. For athletes, they focus on one play at a time, and if they win every play, they can make it to a championship! So too, in our lives, how do we seek the Lord in our daily lives, how do we work on our relationships with our Lord daily?

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