There is a non-fictional self-help book by Napoleon Hill named ‘Think and grow rich’.
There is a lovely story in this book, which goes thus….
A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield.
He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own.
He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to “burn the ships” that had carried them.
Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke!
That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win!
We now have no choice—we win, or we perish!”
History says that they won the battle!
Any person who wishes to find success in any undertaking much be willing to “burn his ships” and to cut off all sources of turning back…
Only thus, can one be sure of maintaining a “burning desire” to win!
The Gospel of the Day highlights on this aspect of making a complete commitment to the cause of the Kingdom of God and being prepared to face any challenges in being faithful to this dedication!
Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)
Our Blessed Lord speaks of three areas of “giving-up” in our Christian life…
1. The “Giving-Up” of personal security
The Lord says, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” ( Lk 9: 58)
The life of Jesus was characterised by a lack of personal security.
>> It is to this life of “poverty” that our Blessed Lord invites each one of us too….
… in the sense of knowing that our Loving Father will provide for us, with our genuine co-operation
… in the sense of not being anxious or over-worried over the concerns of life
… in the sense of depending on the Lord for the necessities of life
2. The “Giving-Up” of personal gains
The Lord says, “Let the dead bury the dead” (Lk 9: 60)
This was in response to the man who said, “let me go first and bury my father”.
This statement was a common way of saying, “Let me wait until I receive my inheritance from my father!”
It was an excuse of “economics and finance” that the man was trying to furnish, to evade the Kingdom responsibility!
>> Jesus calls us to a life of “obedience” to his Will…
… in the sense of letting go of personal gains and profits for His sake
… in the sense of curbing our selfish wantings and cravings
3. The “Giving-Up” of personal relationships
The Lord says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)
This was in response to the man who said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home”
>> Jesus calls us to a life of being “chaste” to His Divine Love…
… in the sense of prioritizing Him above all other relations
… in the sense of giving the Lord the first place in life
We ought to have a “burning desire” as the missionaries of the Kingdom, to spread God’s Word and make Him loved more!
Martin Luther King Jr. said:
“Consider that people are like tea bags.
They don’t know their own strength until they get into hot water”
It is essential, therefore that we “burn our ships” of comfort and personal wishes, so that we can be better imitators of Him, Who demands that we be zealous in our journey towards perfection.
May we seek the intercession of St Jerome, whose feast we celebrate today, who would say:
“Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”
God Bless! Live Jesus!