by Jeff Hedglen
One hundred and fifty students, hearts lifted in worship, sing the Matt Maher lyric: “This is the first day of the rest of your life, ’cause even in the dark you can still see the light. It’s gonna be all right.”
The setting is a summer service camp, and the atmosphere is heavy with change.
While the students have come to this camp mostly on their own, some were cajoled into it by their parents. But on this night, all are 100 percent engaged and living the present moment. They have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.
The choices we make each day set the stage for what comes next. A simple choice to come to a service camp can, at the very least, strengthen your relationship with God, or it can alter the course of your life profoundly and be the first step to a religious vocation.
Sometimes the choices we make are big ones, such as jobs, relationships and living arrangements. Other times, our choices have more to do with attitudes, free time and moments of prayer.
No matter the size, each choice is like a step forward in our life, with each step bringing healing or pain. Each stride can take us closer or farther from our eternal goal of heaven. This week’s readings reveal Naaman plunged into the Jordan seven times for healing. Timothy tells us, “If we have died with him we shall also live with him,” and 10 lepers cry out: “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
In each reading we are called to make our choices count. For this is the first day of the rest of your life.
I’m sure we can all look back in time and see the choices that have altered our life, relationships, happiness and faith. Sure, some of the things life throws at us we have no choice in, but it is in how we respond to these events that our choices lie.
When only one of the 10 lepers chooses to come back to thank Jesus for the healing, he says to him: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
May all of our choices have a similar effect.