City Slickers is a movie about three middle aged friends whose idea of a vacation is to go on a cattle drive. At one point Billy Crystal asks a crusty old cowboy what the meaning of life is. The cowboy holds up one finger and says, “The meaning of life is one thing.” Crystal says, “OK. So what is it?” The cowboy says that it is for each person to discover. When they do, they have to make it the most important thing in their life. Everything else is less important.
Our scripture readings today speak to us about the call of God in the lives of the Israelites, the people of Jesus’ day, the early church and the church today.
- In the first reading we heard Amos talk about his calling. He was as simple shepherd. Despite this background and his lack of preparation God called him to be a prophet. Being a prophet in Israel was dangerous job because people never like to have their sins pointed out to them. That’s what prophets did and why so many died. BUT Amos said, “YES!”
- In the gospel we watch as Jesus chooses his disciples for a mission: they are to preach the proclaim God’s invitation to all they meet. Jesus is realistic. They will not convert everyone, nor are they expected to. If the people respond — fine — and if they reject the message — fine. Jesus gives people the freedom to accept and reject his invitation.
- Finally, there is that beautiful passage from the letter to the Ephesians. God has chosen us even before the world began to be holy, to be filled with grace and love, and to share in the mission of Jesus. God freely calls us and lets us respond freely. But how, what, an whom we choose will affect our eternal happiness.
What is the meaning of life? God invites each of us to allow God to be central in our lives — to make our relationship with God a priority in our lives. That is the “one thing only” for every man, woman and child.