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The Father says to the disciples: “This is my Son, listen to Him.” The disciples have a choice. They will listen to the Son or they will not listen to the Son. Which of the two is the correct choice? Of course, listen to the Son. What if the disciples choose the wrong answer and decide not to listen? They will have to come up with reasons to justify their “wrong” answer. They could say, “Jesus is hard on us. He tells us to pick up our cross, and love enemies. He tells the rich man to sell his possession to the poor. It is not easy to listen to Jesus.” Every wrong answer has reasons.

 Last week I had to give a two-hour class on John’s Gospel. When I finished I got on the highway and there ahead of me was a sea of red brake lights. Four lanes merged into one. It took a half-hour to crawl one hundred yards. To the right of me was an oncoming ramp. A car came up the ramp passed a one-half hour of waiting cars, pulled up beside my car and wanted to cut in front of me. At that moment I had two choices. 1. Let him in. 2. Do not let him in. What is the correct answer? The first, let him in. Let say I chose the wrong answer and did not let him cut in front of me. I need to justify my wrong choice. “Who does this guy think he is? I waited a long time in this lane and it is not fair that he can jump ahead of me. He can wait like the rest of us.”

Let’s say you get up early in the morning and go to work. You are a hard worker so at the end of the day you are very tired. You leave work and run into rush hour traffic. You remember that you do not have any food at home so you have to stop at the supermarket. There you are met with hundreds of other people that are tired and hungry. You try to go down one of the lanes and there is a lady blocking the aisle with her cart. You finally manage to get the food. You go to the checkout and there are long lines. You get in one and there is someone in front of you that has an expired coupon that wants to see the manager. As you are standing there, you start to think about how you have to get back into traffic, cook, clean up, go to bed and do the same thing tomorrow all over again. The monotonous drudgery of trying to do simple things in life gets you down. Finally, you check out your food. The cashier gives you your receipt and says to you “Have a nice day.” It sounds like a meaningless platitude but actually it is another choice. You can have a nice day or not have a nice day. What is the correct answer? Of course, have a nice day. However, let’s say you choose the wrong answer. You will need reasons to justify your wrong answer. And you have lots of reasons not to have a nice day as you drag yourself back into rush hour traffic.

But what if the guy that wanted to cut in front of me happened to be the doctor who saved my father’s life when he had quadruple bypass surgery? Or what if the woman who blocked the lane with her cart was the nice lady on the phone who helped me with my credit card problem when someone tried to buy Rhode Island with my card? Or what if the cashier was there since six in the morning but decided to stay longer to help the rush hour people get home a little faster? What if my life was filled with unsung heroes? What if the people that surround me every day are those who greatly make my life better.  I would probably have a very good day.

Every day we have choices. Make sure we always pick the correct one. You will never regret it. 

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