Choosing the Less Traveled Road

Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time by Sr. Marie Lucey
This reflection was originally posted in our August 17th newsletter
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” begins the well-known poem by Robert Frost. “And I– I chose the one less traveled by, /And that has made all the difference,” is the last line. Arrival at a crossroad and having to make a decision is the human experience of all of us. In the readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, both Joshua and Jesus put a decision before the people. It is their choice to make.
Joshua gathers all the leaders of the Israelites and tells them “decide today whom you will serve,” before he states the choice he has already made: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Recalling that God had led them out of slavery and protected them on their journey, the people answered, “Therefore, we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
When many disciples are turning away from Jesus, finding his teachings too hard, Jesus asks the Twelve: “Do you also want to leave?” The choice is theirs. Instead of replying Yes or No, Simon Peter offers a plaintive response on behalf of the others: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The Twelve have seen Jesus in action, have listened to his teachings, and they choose the road less traveled because they are convinced that Jesus is “the Holy One of God.” They cannot clearly see the path ahead, they know it will be challenging, yet they know they have to be true, not only to Jesus, but to themselves.
What about the crossroads in my own life? Not just the major ones that are direction setting and life-changing, like choosing a life partner or religious vocation, or a profession, or going on a missionary journey, but the more frequent decisions that come my way. Shall I speak out in defense of immigrant families in detention or keep silent? Shall I pass this homeless person, looking in the other direction, or give him/her a smile, acknowledging his/her existence? Shall I put someone in his/her place or hold my tongue? Will I be serious about climate change and take action or leave that to someone else? Will I make time every day for prayer and reflection or tell myself I’m too busy?


Every day we must choose to “Live in love, as Christ loved us.” Living in love is not a one-time choice. Listening to Jesus’ words that are “Spirit and life” is not enough. I must act on them. I must choose.  When I try my best to live in love, to follow in the footprints of Jesus, getting back on track when I falter or fail, I perceive the insight of Robert Frost’s poem, that my choice is the less-traveled road which makes all the difference.
Sr. Marie Lucey
FAN Director of Advocacy and Member Relations
Published in: on August 18, 2015 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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