Godtalk: Crossroads and Choices


Future, next exit

No-one, surely, likes to think of their life-journey as simply moving along fixed,  pre-determined lines until the destination long-ago chosen for them is reached.
This is why cross-roads are important; a place to pause, consider our options, and then set out on the path we have now freely chosen. But if cross-roads offer choice, they also offer the possibility of making a mistake. At a cross-roads, we need to be particularly confident of the direction we want to go in.

One source of encouragement here is that we have an ability to learn from our mistakes. So it is worth giving prayerful consideration for a moment to those turning-points in our lives where we were able to choose between various ways forward. Can you recall occasions when you now feel that you chose well? How did you go about choosing? Perhaps, as well, you can bring to mind times when you now consider that you chose badly. From where you are now, what do you think went wrong? What hindered you from making a better choice?

Few of our choices are definitive. Our faith holds that God can turn mistakes into experiences that will, in the long-run, benefit us. God never allows one door to close without opening others. Can you see times when God has used any of your mistakes to bring a greater good into your own life or that of those around you?  

In Mark’s gospel 10.17f Jesus encounters a rich man who is searching for deeper meaning in  life. The man finds himself at a crossroads, uncertain of which way to go forward. As a result of their conversation, Jesus offers him the possibility of becoming a disciple, but also spells out something of what that will cost. He doesn’t pressurise the man; the choice is to be his alone.

In reading this passage, we tend to jump to the end, where the man rejects Jesus’ invitation because in his case it means relinquishing all his wealth. As a result, we are told, he goes away sadly.
But stay at the crossroads itself for a moment, the moment when the man first hears the invitation, and is pondering how to respond. At this point, Mark offers a significant detail: ‘Jesus, looking at him, loved him.’ Mark 10: 21 

As you consider any decisions facing you, imagine  what it felt like to experience Jesus’ loving look. 

Peter Knott SJ