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Today’s readings remind us to reflect on God’s greatest gift of choice, which is the gift of freewill.  The first reading invites us to take every advantage to make the right choices in our lives.  God does not force His commandments on us.  God continually asks us to choose life, but never forces life upon us.

Our parents force us to eat our food.  Our teachers make us do our homework. The government makes us pay our taxes.  But the invitation of God is always to choose.  According to the first reading, the fundamental choice in life is between fire and water, life and death.   How do we know which is which?  The guidance we need comes from the teaching of Jesus.  In today’s Gospel, we read, “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  In other words, if we follow God’s Law, we will be choosing the way of life and goodness.

Let me share with you a small story:  A young boy went to a candy store with his father.  The father told the boy, “You can choose whatever you want.” After seeing the different kinds of  candy, the boy asked himself, “ What should I chose?”  He walked along the aisles, picking up bags of candy and putting them back; he could not make up his mind.  His father said, “Make up your mind, we have to go.”  The boy ran around the store, his eyes moving from one shelf to another, but all of the options looked so good and he could not make a decision.

Finally, the dad grabbed his son by the hand and they walked out of the store, empty handed.  The young boy had tears in his eyes. He wanted them all, but ended up with nothing because he could not choose just one!   We have many options available in our lives, but if we are not making good choices in our personal lives, relationships, and our faith matters,  we will end up empty- handed.  Sometimes, we are worried about making the wrong choices.  St. Paul tells us that our choices should not be the result of fear but rather should be out of pure love of God!

God’s laws and commandments should be based on love and human needs, not like the laws of the Pharisees and scribes; they practiced all kind of unnecessary human made laws and traditions.  But they ignored the human needs, especially taking care of the poor and needy.   We should strongly believe that a greater respect for the Law of God will lead us to show greater respect for our brothers and sisters.   Let us ask ourselves: “Are we following the Law of God or that of the Pharisees and scribes?”

Today, let us pray for the strength to be fully alive, and the grace to choose the Life of Christ, which will lead us by loving and respecting our brothers and sisters!  Let us follow the words of St. Mother Teresa, “ Choose your love. Love your choice.”