Sunday, September 6, 2015

Have the Heart of a Champion

Jesus says: "ephphatha" or "be open."
During Labor Day weekend, I’ve contemplated the ancient wisdom tradition that says God sends each person into this life with a special message to deliver, a special song to sing for others, a special act of love to bestow.

God has committed some work to each one of us that he has not committed to another.  No matter who we are, no matter what we do, whether extraordinary or ordinary, all of us, from a Christian perspective, have a mission to fulfill.

And so whatever your life’s work is, do it well!  And isn’t that what holiness is all about: doing whatever is our life’s work as best we can.

Now if you’re a horse racing fan, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of Seabiscuit: “Horse of the Year” in 1938. The legendary Seabiscuit became a best seller and eventually a film "star."

Seabiscuit was small, crooked-legged, and labeled a loser because he began his career with 16 losses.

But a trainer saw a quality in this horse that convinced him Seabiscuit could be a winner.  And the trainer persuaded a millionaire to buy the horse for $7,500.  The two hired a washed-up prizefighter named Red Pollard as the jockey.  Pollard, too, sensed in Seabiscuit the “heart of a champion” and quickly bonded with the horse.

And they worked with Seabiscuit, and Seabiscuit began to win and win and win, and captivated a country in the midst of the 1930s depression.  

The story of Seabiscuit is really a story of “Ephphatha” (the Aramaic word in the gospel) -- an “openness” to greatness.

And that spirit is contagious: the power to recognize the possibilities for greatness within ourselves and other people.

Every day, opportunities to do good open up to us; but do we seize these daily opportunities to do good?

God recognizes the possibilities for spiritual greatness within each one of us and chooses to make us “temples of God.”  In the Baptismal rite, in the pouring of water upon us, the Spirit breathes God’s grace and life into us and thereby  empowers us to continue the saving work of Jesus Christ: to be instruments of God’s compassion and generosity and love and forgiveness to the people around us: our families, colleagues in the workplace,  relatives and neighbors.

God recognizes the potential for spiritual greatness in us and that’s why he chooses to live within us.

Yes, within each of us is the “heart of a spiritual champion.”

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