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Jesus calls us to a purpose larger than ourselves

As we begin the season of Ordinary Time, we find Jesus calling his first disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We too have been called by Jesus. At the moment of our baptism and repeatedly throughout our lives, Jesus calls each of us personally, by name. 
 
The call is not just generic, but very personal and specific. Just as we were all created for a purpose, each of us is called to follow Christ for a unique purpose. 
 
Blessed John Henry Newman reflected on this truth as he noted that even our illness, our perplexity or our sorrow can serve God’s plan. We are each created for a purpose larger than ourselves, a purpose larger than our own happiness, larger than our own prosperity, larger than our own successes and family and personal relationships, and larger even than our own salvation.
 
We are called by Jesus for a purpose that nobody else can accomplish in quite the same way. Each of us has a story of our life, a journey to make, a call to answer that is uniquely our own. And at this present moment Jesus is calling us.
 
To respond to the call, we must “leave our nets behind” and give our full priority to the call. The core of Jesus’ proclamation is that the reign of God is near. To enter the sphere of God’s presence, both John the Baptist and Jesus preach that people must “repent” or “turn around their minds.” 
 
What nets do we need to leave behind for Christ – not in possessions and property but in attitudes and behaviors? Are we ready to abandon the gossiping, the lies and deception, the prejudice and rash judgments, the greed, the prideful arrogance and cynicism, the angry outbursts, the petty selfishness, and the resentments that entangle us? These are difficult nets for us to leave behind because we are so wrapped up in them. 
 
But we do not stand alone. Jesus is standing with us, helping us to discern our unique call and to unburden us from whatever may impede us from following him in the decisions that we make each day.
 
Father Dennis Hanneman is a retired priest of the archdiocese. Contact him at dahanneman@archomaha.org.

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