The story is told about a woman who was married four times: to a rich man, to an actor, to a preacher, and to a funeral director. When asked why it was so, her response was: “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”
In today’s Gospel (Mk. 1, 14-20), we hear how Jesus called the first disciples. Simon, Andrew, James and John were fishermen who were simply drawn to the person and message of Jesus. They had no ulterior motives in following Him. We ask ourselves today: Why am I following the Lord? What keeps me going? Why do I go on serving?
Today is the feast of the Santo Niño, the boy Jesus who reminds us about purity of heart and clarity of purpose. As we grow on, we must stay focused on our original call and purpose when we started out to follow Jesus. Let not functions, positions, possessions, benefits and privileges that go along with the call blind and imprison us, and hinder us from becoming true and free disciples for the kingdom of God.
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” This is the original message of our Lord which we, His followers, must preach and proclaim. Note that it is all about the kingdom of God, and not about ourselves, nor about our own “kingdoms,” programs, plans, or what have you. The messenger must not be corrupted, and the message must not be adulterated.
The fishermen abandoned their nets and followed Jesus as His disciples. Following and serving the Lord must involve sacrifice; otherwise, it becomes a profession, a comfort zone, or worse, a business enterprise. In other words, discipleship is not for the money and for the show; otherwise, we will not be ready when it’s time to go.
The act of abandoning our nets in favor of the Lord’s net is, and should be, an ongoing task for those who claim to be His followers and disciples. We must continue to be like children: humble, obedient, joyful and docile. If at some point we hold on to our own agenda and plans, and get caught in our desire for comfort, popularity and performance, it is time to be humble and in prayer, and remember again that we have a Master, and that we are mere servants.
“So they left their father, Zebedee, in the boat along with the hired men, and followed Him.” Following Jesus is becoming a disciple with no thought of compensation and wages. In other words, we are not hired men and women who function “for the money.” This is the challenge for all church and government leaders. Let not money corrupt us and destroy our original vision and mission to protect and to serve.
The sunset is a beautiful time of the day. At sunset, life slows down, and one gets the feeling of achievement for having gone this far, or simply, for having survived. But it could also be a time for panic, insecurity, or even regret. It really all depends on how you traveled the road. Those who relied on themselves all along will find the sunset years lonely and scary, filled with worries and even guilt perhaps. But those who traveled with the Lord will find the sunset years peaceful, serene and meaningful. Yes, in our sunset years, may we have little or no regret that we loved too little, or too late.
Think about this: “Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same God who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels” (Saint Augustine). Let us be reminded that humility is the key to true leadership and discipleship. It is the humble that make the difference in this world. Those who are loud and proud are soon gone and forgotten. Those who are simple and humble will always be remembered and appreciated.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, unworthy as we are, You have called and continue to call us. Help us to become more humble and true. Amen.
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