Happy Easter, blog readers! I hope you all have had a beautiful beginning to this most blessed season. I surely enjoyed the triduum masses, especially the Easter Vigil with our wonderful Bishop, a handful of other holy priests and the stateside seminarians of our Diocese.
Having Easter Monday off, I made my way to the gym this morning. Today, various ESPN channels were playing on four of the five screens in front of me, where I had the pleasure of watching Louis Oosthuizen sink his albatross again a handful of times. While I wasn’t glued to the screens, as I glanced upward once, I noticed this image on the screen.
And, if something can distract me in the midst of a workout, it’s likely an emotional human interest-sports story or Tim Tebow. This time, it was Tim who got my attention. I quickly changed my headphones from my tunes to the sportscasters recapping some comments Tim made while visiting an ecclesial community in Texas Easter morning. The hot topic of conversation was about whether Tim was right or not in holding his fellow athletes accountable to their place as role models — telling them they are wrong to insist they are not role models. Mr. Tebow responded, “Yes you are. You’re just not a good one.”
As a follower of JC, Tim Tebow is likely quite familiar with the end of Luke’s gospel. Shortly before his Ascension, Jesus tells his followers they have been witnesses of these things – the suffering, death and resurrection of their Lord – and they are meant to be proclaimed, so everyone would know about the good news of repentance. The idea of being good witnesses (read: role models) is not new to those who practice the Christian faith. But, to some living in the world it seems to be an option.
As the sportscasters debated this morning, a few of them were firm in their stance that being a role model was a matter of choice. At the same time, they could easily rattle off a list of sports heros of decades past who they had modeled baseball swings and more important aspects of their lives after. Their arguments fell apart right there — it seems being a role model is not a matter of choice. Human nature is such that we keep tabs on each other. We notice when someone says one thing and does another. As Pope Paul VI was fond of sharing, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
As this Easter season is now upon us, I think this provides a fitting point of reflection. How are we doing at this task of witnessing to the mysteries we just encountered? As the sportscasters pointed out this morning, it is impossible to be perfect — and perhaps that means the task is too difficult to embrace. Well, if we needed a reminder of what it looks like to do the impossible, let’s think back to Sunday morning. And, when it comes to trying to be perfect, yes it is difficult. Tim Tebow has embraced it — following Christ’s command in Matthew 5:48 with a whole lot of passion. Through the grace given to us in the Sacraments, we have all the strength we need. As Bishop Morlino reminded us on Saturday night, we need to remind ourselves every morning — we are baptized, confirmed and have received the greatest gift of the Eucharist. That is all we need to be capable of loving one another.
To inspire us even more, the Holy Father happens to preach on the importance of witness quite often, as he did right before Lent kicked off this past February:
May our loyalty to Christ be firm and unfaltering in order to make our witness credible. Our society, which is experiencing moments of uncertainty and doubt, needs the clarity of Christ. May every Christian bear witness to him with faith and courage.
Let’s keep on our hearts the concluding words of the Exultet, as we live — shining brightly the light of Christ — this Easter season: May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.