I’m certain if I told the same story with the same gesturing and enthusiasm someone would question my sanity or at least my medication. And yet, because it was a celebrity it was automatically funny, captivating and significant.
There is something about the celebrity status. It captivates: we watch, we listen, we are eager to observe. It convinces: purchases from cars to toothpaste, from investment options to sports drinks.
As I reflected on this odd authority and credibility we assign to those in the limelight, I began to wonder. Why don’t we so readily take God at his word? Why aren’t we as captivated by his word? Why don’t we believe his promises? Or listen to his stories?
Think about it. He says to us, “Trust in me.” We say, “Well, I know that you say that, but I think I’ll trust myself (my significant other, my feelings, my friends, this website, the in-crowd, the “experts”) instead.”
He says to us, “Fear not.” (Over and over and over in scripture!) We say, “Well, I know that you say that, but this world is a scary place.”
He says to us, “I will not forsake you” and “I am with you always”. We say, “Well, I know that you say that, but I feel forsaken and you seem so very absent.”
And so our Lord goes beyond captivating sermons and enthusiastic invitations. He doesn’t just speak these truths. He shows us on the Cross: “I love you.”
What do we say? How do we respond?
This Lent may we hear and see and encounter Christ anew: in the readings we are so familiar with, in the image of the crucifix we are so comfortable with, in the love he pours into our hearts each time we receive him in the Eucharist.
Be captivated by his word. Be confident in his promises. Be convinced of his love.
And respond with your life.