"I am the way and the truth and the life"
Read no further if basketball means nothing to you. You have been warned....
Nothing spells PANIC like the PLAYOFFS ARE NOW IN CONTROL. For all big NBA basketball fans out there, the Playoffs will own our lives for the next few weeks. As you watch your favorite team face a new wave of assault week after week from quarter to quarter, you will experience your own waves of incoherent grunting, yelling at the refs, whispering plays to yourself, and taking quick bathroom breaks during commercials. Each time the opposing team celebrates a basket, you WILL take it personally. And never mind the clock these next few weeks as you will gladly stay up past midnight when your team faces another in a different time zone. All of this will be experienced with a deep undertone of dread as you daily contemplate the reality that your team MIGHT not make it past the Playoffs. And if they do, they might not come through with a championship.
Daily life is a lot like the Playoffs sometimes. What will my doctor's appointment reveal? Is my job secure? Did I spend too much money last month? Where are my car keys? Also, all of our lives have an underlying fear of death and what lies beyond the grave. We often get trapped into a Playoff mode of living in fear of the future.
Christ does not want us to live like this. In this Sunday's Mass, we celebrate the feast of the Ascension where Jesus gave a curious message to his disciples just before he ascended into heaven, "Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Lk.24:49). The disciples could've spent their time in the city afraid. What are we supposed to do here? Will the Romans catch us and crucify us? Why would Jesus abandon us? Will the Holy Spirit really come? The disciples, however, had none of these fears. How did they spend their time? Scripture says, "They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God" (Lk.24:52-53).
Have no fears in life. Jesus has already promised us victory. Fight hard in the Playoffs of life, but do it with a sense of joy rather than dread. If we follow the loving commands of our Lord, we will be Champions.