Choices. We all make choices. Some are good. Some, not so much. But life is all about choices. It’s kind of like going to the store. You make a series of decisions whether to go straight, turn right, or turn left. When you’re done, you’ve gone from home to the store. What makes this a bad analogy is that when you go to the store, you’ve probably been there before so you’re making choices based on your past experience.
Life is different. Sometimes you have experience, or trusted instructions that allow you to make an informed choice. Even if you’ve never been to Cincinnati, you probably know that it’s east of here. You may know that it’s on the Ohio River. But do you know how to get there? Maybe not, but you can get a map or a GPS system and find it fairly easily.
But what if there aren’t any instructions? There may be some rules to help you out. If you walk off the edge of a cliff you know that you’re going to fall. So you don’t do that. If you put your hand into the fire, you’re going to be burned. So you don’t do that either.
The other day my cat burned her nose on my daughter’s hair straightener. Cat’s don’t know anything about hair straighteners. She’d never seen one before so she examined it the way cats examine everything. She gave it a sniff and she burned her nose. Now she knows. Even with her tiny brain she’ll never sniff another hair straightener.
In the first reading today Paul tells his listeners about how God chose his people. He tells them how he chose Saul to be their king and then David. Then in the Gospel Jesus tells the disciples how He has chosen those who are blessed to understand His teachings.
Knowing that God can see into the future makes you wonder sometimes why He made the choices that He did. But then I imagine my cat wonders why Megan left the hot hair straightener on the floor. The thing is that you and I have about as much chance of understanding God as my cat has of understanding me. We just don’t have the mind of God. We’re left to make OUR choices based on the information that we have which sometimes isn’t much.
But we have the advantage of a God who walks with us, helps us make good choices, and even makes sure that our not-s0-good choices turn out ok. Forty two years ago next month I chose a girl I barely knew to be my wife. Six months later we were married. There’s no way our marriage should have worked. But it did. In spite of our youth and our lack of experience, with the help of God, we made some good choices.
I’ve seen some of the guys that Jan might have married, and believe me, she did OK. I’ve also seen some of the women that I could have married , and I did more than OK.
Tomorrow, xxxx and xxxx of our parish, will profess their love for one another in front of this altar. They’ve made a choice. It’s a blessing and a miracle to find true love once in this life. But they’ve both found it a second time, and that’s a rare gift. I won’t be able to be here tomorrow, so I’d like to offer my prayers and best wishes to the about-to-be Mr. and Mrs. xxxx xxxxxx and I know all of you do the same.