Our Lives Are Shaped By The Decisions We Make

06-26-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, CSSp

In the first reading of today we see a drama between Elijah and Elisha. First as we heard, “the Lord said to Elijah you shall anoint Elisha as a prophet to succeed you.” Which means God has already chosen Elisha to be a prophet after Elijah. God has appointed Elisha as a successor to Elijah, but he could still throw the chance away if he does not make a good decision for himself. Elijah went out and found Elisha plowing with twelve yoke of oxen and he threw his cloak over him. Immediately, Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah and told him he wanted to go and kiss his father and mother goodbye, but Elijah asked him “did I do anything to you?” Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them and gave it to the people to eat. In this passage God appoints, but He still gives the individual the freedom to choose or to reject His call and this is based on the decision the person makes.

The slaughtering of his oxen, the kissing of his father, and the bidding of farewell to his men, were all symbolic gestures that he had freely accepted his call. It was a sign of total submission to the will, and call of God over his own will. It was also an indication that he loved God more than his business, and his own self. To be able to answer this call he decided to slaughter his oxen which could become a barrier to his call.

In the Gospel, we see similar things playing out. Jesus begins to instruct His disciples preparing them for the decision that lies ahead of them. That was why He had to resolutely take the road for Jerusalem. He knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem. He knew that in Jerusalem He would be rejected by the elders and scribes and at last meet His death. Yet, He had to make the painful human decision that gave direction to His life. It is our fundamental decision that gives direction to our lives. We also see the question of decision in the three people that wanted to follow Him. The first person told Him “I will follow You wherever You go”, Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.” Your decision to follow me is welcome, but it goes with some sacrifices. This is because all commitments involve sacrifice.

Then, to the second person He said, “Follow me,” but he replied “Lord let me go first and bury my father.” Which means he wanted to finish his other business before making the decision to follow the Lord. We still want to finish our own personal and private business before following Him. Then, the third person said “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go and say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who sets his hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” If you decide to follow Christ do not worry much about the past. We should not allow the negative events of our past lives dominate our decision to follow Christ. It’s not easy to definitively leave one’s childhood family in order to cling to a spouse in marriage and start a new family, but once we make that decision to settle down with a particular person it involves commitment and every commitment involves sacrifice. If you are not ready to make such sacrifices then you are not ready for marriage.

For the young teenagers, the decision you make at this stage has a lot to do with what you may become in the future. And that is why you need the guidance and direction of your parents and teachers in some decisions you make in life. At times you may think you know it all but your parents and teachers who have seen more years can direct you better than you do. Begin today to ask yourself the type of decisions you make for yourself. Is it in line with the will of God and are you ready to make sacrifices for the decisions you make to achieve something good, noble and worthy for your life?

Fr. Tony Okolo