March 18, 2018

March 18, 2018

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MCGUIRE-Brendan_webBy Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at bmcguire@dsj.org.

 

The Road Less Traveled

I love to hike especially on trails that are less busy than others. This week I took one that was definitely less traveled! But I soon found out why it was less traveled. It was very difficult. It seemed to be uphill all the way, even on the way back!! It reminded of that poem by Robert Frost1 ‘The Road Not Taken.”

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.2

 

Jesus most certainly took the road less traveled, to always obey his Father’s will. We know for ourselves that doing the God’s will is not always easy. We know that it is the road less traveled! In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit.” We are called to die to our own selfish needs and live instead for others. It means letting go of our old selves, old routines and habits and being open to new ways and new risks of being Christian.

This “dying” is what we call “conversion”, a continual changing of our lives. When we choose to let go of our old ways and say yes to new ways then we are choosing one path for another. Yes, we are called to choose the road less traveled, the Christian road.

In the same way I set out on that trail used less by others and realized that it is more difficult, when we choose the Christian road we realize it is not an easy one. When we say yes to one thing then we say no to another. When we choose to use words of kindness and patience and not words of judgment and prejudice, we choose the right path. When we choose to use words of forgiveness or tolerance instead of words of unforgiveness or hatred, we choose the right path. We proclaim, by our actions, the choice of the road we travel. When we choose the road less traveled, it will make all the difference!

(Endnotes)
1 Patricia Datchuck Sanchez, “Celebration: An Ecumenical Worship Resource,” (Kansas City, Montana: National Catholic Reporter Company, Inc., April, 2003).
2 Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” from William Harmon, Ed., The Top 500 Poems (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992).