Once upon a time in an ancient kingdom, there lived a semi-barbaric king who believed so much in the power of choice. For everything, he would ask his subjects to make a choice and any decision anyone made became his or her reward. For instance, if you wanted money, he would put money in one of his clenched fists and ask you to choose.
At some point, he extended the idea of choice-making to men found guilty of severe crimes in the kingdom. He would ask his guards to bring the offender to the public square and the person would choose between two identical locked doors; behind one is a fierce tiger and behind the other a beautiful lady. If one opened the door with the tiger, that would be the death of course but if one is lucky to open the door with the beautiful lady, he would be married to her instantly at the public square.
One fateful day, the princess and the only daughter of the king met a very handsome young man while taking a walk with some maidens outside the palace. One thing led to the other, and they fell in love. Every day, the princess would sneak out of the palace to see the young man at their secret meeting place.
After some time of their love life, the king discovered and had the young man arrested and put in prison. The king judged the relationship as disrespect and crime to the throne because ordinary folks like the young man were not supposed to have a close relationship with royalties like the princess.
Soon, it became clear to the princess that his father would bring the young man to the public square to choose between the two doors. She made contacts with the guards about which door the tiger would be kept for that day and with that information he assured the young man that she would help him, he needed only to look at her at the public square to know the hand she would raise; that is right or left indicating the right door or the left door.
On that very day, the guards brought the young man out and asked to walk to any of the doors he would choose. Turning to bow to the king as the law demanded, he saw the princess raising her right hand, then he turns and walks up to the right door. On reaching the door, he stopped and said to himself, “she loves me so much that she wants me to live but I will be married to another lady, not her I should die rather.” Afterward, he went to the left door and opened it!
Guess what? The left door had a beautiful lady. The princess had said to herself, “I love him so much and won’t stand to see him marry another lady, I will direct him to the tiger and afterward, I will poison myself and die.” The young man’s final choice saved his life and he lived to see that the princess had a different option for him than what he thought.
Your Life is Your Choice
Life is all about making choices and we are as good or as bad as our choices because every choice count. The First Reading today (Sirach 15:15-20) invites us to choose between keeping the commandment of God to gain salvation or leaving it for damnation. The writer further tells us that we have options between fire and water, life and death, good and evil.
At creation, God put into humans the moral “software” of freedom. The book of Genesis has this to say:
The Lord God gave the man this order; you are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree, you shall not eat; when you eat from it, you shall die (Gen 2:16-17).
Now, we understand that God was fair about the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. They had an option to choose between good and evil from eating the fruit and refraining from eating it. Notice that when the serpent comes to tempt Eve, it began by asking if they have a choice, “Did God really say you shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). In answer, Eve recalls that God gave them the freedom to choose but they had to make the right choice, or they would die.
Moving Forward: The Choice to Do What the Lord Says
In the Gospel Reading today (Matt. 5:17-37), our Lord Jesus Christ continues the narrative about choice-making by restating the importance of making the right choice through obedience to the commandments and teaching others to do the same.
In a more detailed discourse, our Lord makes a distinction and an opportunity to choose between what was said to their ancestors and what he says to them. Our Lord’s reappraisal of the commandments shows that in making our choices, little things we conceive in our minds count. For instance, we choose against killing by stopping anger, and we choose against adultery by regulating the lustfulness in the hearts.
Let us try to be more intentional about our choices as they could help or hinder us in the long run because our choices have their respective consequences. While making choices consider them in the following questions:
- Would they make God happy?
- Would they add value to the lives of other people?
- Would they save your soul?
As we enter the new week, keep in mind that you always need to make a choice but make it the right choice. God bless you.