30 Dec – 6th Day within the octave of Christmas
1 John 2:12-17
I am writing to you, my own children,
whose sins have already been forgiven through his name;
I am writing to you, fathers,
who have come to know the one
who has existed since the beginning;
I am writing to you, young men,
who have already overcome the Evil One;
I have written to you, children,
because you already know the Father;
I have written to you, fathers,
because you have come to know the one
who has existed since the beginning;
I have written to you, young men,
because you are strong and God’s word has made its home in you,
and you have overcome the Evil One.
You must not love this passing world
or anything that is in the world.
The love of the Father cannot be
in any man who loves the world,
because nothing the world has to offer
– the sensual body,
the lustful eye,
pride in possessions –
could ever come from the Father
but only from the world;
and the world, with all it craves for,
is coming to an end;
but anyone who does the will of God
remains for ever.
There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
You must not love this passing world or anything that is in the world
Last week I shared with you about the hypnotherapist I am seeing. He is also a life coach, and he specialises in helping people find their purpose in life. Though I’m not seeing him for this reason, we did have a brief conversation with him about my life purpose. He helped me to define it more clearly and succinctly. When my grandfather passed away 10 years ago, I asked myself: If I’m on my deathbed and I were looking back at the life I’ve lived, what would I be able to take with me into the next life?
My answer was relationships. I believe in heaven and I believe I’m going to meet most, if not all, the people I know in my lifetime. When we meet up there, it won’t be tabula rasa – a blank slate. I believe we will retain all memories of our life experiences including our relationships with other people and with God – in God’s Heavenly Kingdom, all of us will finally be seen in His Pure Light and Love. So from then on, I decided that my life purpose is to build long-lasting relationships that matter. As I reflect on it now, I realise that my life purpose is helping me to live out Jesus’ two most important commandments: Love God and love others.
In today’s first reading, John writes about the honour and responsibilities of knowing Jesus. First is that we get our sins forgiven through Jesus’ name. We also gain the ability to overcome the Evil One, not through anything of our own strength but through Jesus. In order to maintain this relationship with Jesus, we cannot let anything in the world take precedence over Jesus in our life and our attention. God’s will comes first.
We see this in how Anna lived, serving God daily even though she was well on in years. Her life purpose, perhaps, was to simply meet the child Jesus and prophesy the deliverance of Jerusalem through him. All her life has been steered towards achieving this life purpose.
For some of us, our life purpose is given. For others, we must find it on our own. We live in a time when we can afford the luxury of being unable to discover our purpose in life. Indeed it is a prevalent problem that afflicts many people I know. Sometimes we pray about it or we ask our spiritual directors, but no one seems able to help us find our life purpose. In such a case, I put forward this question: If you give your life any purpose you wanted it to have, what would it be?
Then go fulfill your purpose in life. Your life is what you make of it and at the end of the life, there’s only two persons you’re going to have to account to: God and yourself.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for those who are struggling to find their purpose in life, that God may guide them to someone who can help.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the gifts He has equipped us with to find and fulfill our life purpose.