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As I prepare this weekend’s homily I have been reflecting on last week’s Gospel reading from  John and this week’s from Luke and one thing struck me.

The disciples have retreated to the safety of the Upper Room, the scene of the their Last Supper with Jesus, where they find themselves on the “horns of a dilemma.”

More on that in the days ahead, but let’s visit our friends at Wikipedia , where they define dilemma this way:

A dilemma (Greek: δί-λημμα “double proposition“) is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. One in this position has been traditionally described as “being on the horns of a dilemma“, neither horn being comfortable.

Colorful names have been given to many types of dilemmas.

  • Double bind: conflicting requirements ensure that the victim will automatically be wrong.
  • Ethical dilemma: a choice between moral imperatives.
  • Extortion: the choice between paying the extortionist and suffering an unpleasant action.
  • Fairness dilemmas: when groups are faced with making decisions about how to share their resources, rewards, or payoffs
  • Hobson’s choice: a choice between something and nothing; “take it or leave it”.
  • Morton’s fork: choices yield equivalent, often undesirable, results.
  • The prisoner’s dilemma: An inability to coordinate makes cooperation difficult and defection tempting.
  • Samaritan’s dilemma: the choice between providing charity, improving another’s condition, and withholding it, preventing them from becoming dependent.
  • Sophie’s choice: a choice between two persons or things that will result in the death or destruction of the person or thing not chosen.
  • Zugzwang: One must move and incur harm when one would prefer to make no move (esp. in chess).
    (Source Wikipedia)

For fun have a closer look at how they define a Zugzwang dilemma.

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