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When we were in school, we would have “multiple choice” exams. This means that the answer to the question is one among several choices often lettered a, b, c, and d. My teacher then gave me a tip on how to answer this type of test. She said that if I was not sure about my answer, I should still answer, trusting my gut feeling. She said it is better to make a wild guess rather than not give any answer at all.

Our two readings for today give us examples of “multiple choices.” In the first reading, Jonah is confronted with multiple choices about God’s message: a) he could ignore it; b) he could accept it; c) he could run away from it. The lawyer, too, is faced with multiple choices about “who is my neighbor?” It is a) the one who ignored the man on the road? b) the one who looked the other way? or c) the one who helped?

Multiple choices… If you do not know the right answer, go with your guts.

After this Mass, and throughout our lives, we will be faced with many choices. When you see a beggar, a poor person, your immediate response may be to help. But then you have second thoughts and say, “He might be out to con me.” And then you think that despite this, you have to help him. But before you know it, the alms remain in your pocket. This is what usually happens with charity.

We are by nature compassionate. We are by nature honest. We are by nature good. Our immediate response is always the best answer. Unfortunately, our initial response often gets locked in analysis, in doubts, and in second, third, and fourth thoughts; and we lose our best answer.

Jonah trusted his gut feeling and went forth in spite of fear. The lawyer accepted the call. The example of the Good Samaritan, the good neighbor, accepted the call also. They all trusted the first response that sprang from their innate nature to be compassionate, to be honest, to be good. Multiple choices… if you do not know the answer, go with your guts because your guts will tell you to be compassionate, to be kind, to be good.

Jon 1:1-2; 1-11; Lk 10:25-37
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