The pearl dealer does not hesitate to spend everything to buy that one pearl. The same applies to the man who found a treasure. Unexpected situations that were not programmed, where it is essential to recognize the importance and the urgency of making a decision.
Everyone must decide
Everyone has to make decisions, there is no one to make it for us. At some point, adults are free to ask for advice, they can think, but the decision is ours. We cannot say, “I lost this because my husband, my wife, or my brother decided.” None! You must decide, each of us must decide. That is why it is important to distinguish: In order to make a good decision, it is necessary to be able to distinguish.
The Gospel suggests another important aspect of discernment: love. The one who has found the treasure has no problem selling everything, so great is his joy (cf. Mt 13:44). The expression used by the evangelist Matthew refers to a special joy that no human reality can give us. It returns very little in other parts of the Gospel, only in parts that refer to the encounter with God.
A good decision leads to happiness
It is the joy of the Magi who, after a long and tiring journey, see the star again (cf. Mt 2:10). This joy is the joy of the women who return from the empty tomb after hearing the angel’s announcement of the resurrection (cf. Mt 28:8). It is the joy of those whom the Lord has found.
Making a good decision, a right decision, always leads to that joy. Maybe you have to suffer a little along the way because of the uncertainty, the thinking, the searching. But in the end, the right decision will lead to happiness.
At the last judgment, God will judge us – the great judgment. The images of the farmer, the fisherman and the merchant are examples of what happens in the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom that shows itself in the deeds of daily life, which asks to take a stand. That is why it is so important to differentiate.
The big decisions can spring from what appear to be secondary circumstances that will ultimately prove to be decisive. For example, let us think of Andrew and John’s first meeting with Jesus, where a simple question is asked: “Rabbi, where do you live?” – “Come and see” (cf. John 1:38-39), says Jesus. A very short conversation, which is the beginning of a change that will gradually affect the whole life.
Time and eternity
Years later, the evangelist will still remember the encounter that changed him forever. He will even remember the hour: “It was about the fourth noon” (v. 39).
It is the hour when time and eternity met in his life. And in a good, right decision, our will meets God’s. The present path meets the eternal. To make a right decision, after traveling a path of judgment, is to have this encounter: of time and eternity.
Therefore, knowledge, experience, devotion and will are indispensable elements of judgment. We will also look at other aspects that are equally important during this catechesis.
The price is tiring. According to the Bible, the life we are to live is not pre-packaged, no! We must constantly decide according to the reality that comes. God invites us to evaluate and choose: He created us as free people and wants us to exercise our freedom. Therefore, it is demanding to distinguish.
We have often found that we chose something that initially seemed good, but in the end it wasn’t. Or that we knew what was good for us and still chose not to. Humans, unlike animals, can make mistakes. He may decide wrongly. The Bible already shows this on the first pages.
God gives man a precise instruction: if you want to live, if you want to enjoy life, remember that you are a creature. That you are not the yardstick for good and evil, and that the choices you make will have consequences for you, others and the world (cf. Mos 2:16-17). You can turn the land into a beautiful garden or a dead desert.
Indispensable to live
An essential teaching: it is not for nothing that it is the first dialogue between God and man. The dialogue is: The Lord gives the mission, you must do this and that, and man must discern with each step he takes what decision he must make. Judgment is the reflection of the mind, of the heart, that we must perform before making a decision.
The price is demanding, but indispensable for living. It requires self-awareness to know what is right for me, here and now. Above all, it requires a childlike relationship with God. God is Father and does not leave us alone. He is always ready to advise us, encourage us, receive us. But he never imposes his will. Why not? Because he wants to be loved and not feared. God also wants us to be children and not slaves: free children. And love can only be experienced in freedom. To learn to live, we must learn to love. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish: what can I do now, now that I am confronted with this alternative?
Let it be a sign of a greater love, a greater maturity in love. Let’s ask the Spirit to guide us! Let us call upon him every day, especially when we have choices to make. (Translation: Francesco Paloni)