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Your purpose in life

The story is told about a zookeeper who was asked if he ever had any accidents. “No, but a rattlesnake bit me, and an elephant stepped on my foot,” he replied. “Don’t you call those accidents?”   he was asked again. “No,” said the zookeeper, “I think they did it on purpose!”

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 14, 25-33), Jesus reminds us that discipleship involves decision and purpose. He calls us to choose to give up our loved ones, possessions and belongings, and to take up our cross and follow Him. To be a follower of Christ means the willingness and the decision to leave one’s comfort zones, to deny one’s self and follow Him.

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Like the tower builder who calculates the cost, and the king who studies his chance of winning a battle, we too are asked to decide whether we are willing to renounce all our possessions and follow Him. The cost of following Jesus is steep and high, and the call of the world is loud and promising, that is why many don’t respond to His call, or give up after some time.

It can happen that a disciple stays on, but settles for easy compromise and for convenience. Renouncing all of one’s possessions applies not only to one’s properties, but to one’s attachments, ambitions and personal agenda as well. It is in constant prayer that we can humbly know what kind of a disciple we are or have become.

There are true disciples, but then, there are so-so disciples, and so-called disciples, and so cold disciples, depending on the depth of commitment, clarity of purpose and sincerity of heart.

One big factor in discipleship is the reality and necessity of grace. A true disciple is one who constantly decides and renews his/her commitment, and this happens not only through sheer human effort and will power, but because of grace and strength from above. Our achievements are little compared to the blessings and grace we have received.

Happy birthday, Mama Mary! Our Blessed Mother is our model of true discipleship. She was always focused on Jesus. Her only agenda was Jesus and the Father’s will. She was a prayerful, humble, kind and joyful disciple.

Happy birthday to the SVD, the Society of the Divine Word, our congregation which has sent many missionaries and disciples to many nations since 1875, so that “the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all.”

I am offering to Mama Mary, as a birthday present, my latest book, “Healing Moments,” where I share my journey with cancer, healing thoughts, stories, songs and prayers. It will be out in bookstores by October. Indeed, may everything that happens in our lives give praise and glory to God.

Think about this: “As we grow older, our main goal in life must not be happiness, but Godliness; not reputation, but character; not wealth, but virtue; not fame, but faith; not the approval of men, but the approval of our Creator.”

“What’s my purpose in life?” This is a question we should ask ourselves again and again, as we journey on. What is my mission and vision? You and I must have a purpose, otherwise, we end up living selfish, vain and empty lives. On a deeper level, the question we should keep on asking is, “What is God’s purpose in my life?” Then, the question takes on a new meaning and dimension.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us of the true meaning and purpose of our lives. Amen.

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