Several years ago one of the local teams in southern California won a national championship. Apparently this was an event worthy of a ticker-tape parade. That’s all fine and good, but I cringed every time the newscaster referred to the team members as heroes.
Isn’t a hero a person who risks life and limb for another? Isn’t a hero a person who makes some sort of sacrifice? I can’t imagine seeing a friend in the hospital and saying, “Wow, Bob, so you ran into a burning building to save a baby? And got burned yourself doing it? You’re a real hero. Yup, you’re right up there with guys who score lots of points in a ball game.”
People get excited about the darndest things. I was halfway paying attention to an episode of American Idol that my husband was watching, and I couldn’t believe the people jumping up and down, hugging and kissing, all over a coveted “Golden Ticket” to a singing competition in Hollywood. And then there were those who didn’t get a ticket sobbing “This is the most important thing in my life! It means everything to me!”
Can you imagine people getting that emotional about Jesus?
Imagine a procession with police cruisers and motorcycles wailing sirens and flashing blue and red lights, hordes of enthusiastic people on their toes, straining to see, and then bursts of uncontained exhilaration as finally there came into view . . . a monstrance holding the Eucharist.
There was a similar procession once. Christ tells us that excitement was at such a fever pitch that even if His disciples had been silent, the very stones would have cried out (Luke 19:40).
It was, of course, only the first procession. The other one followed a few days later, the streets most likely lined by some of the people who had been so enthusiastic at the first one. That’s when the very same Person showed Himself for the Hero He actually is.
That, to me, is true heroism.
Scoring a last second winning touchdown, hitting a grand slam, or getting a golden ticket to Hollywood aren’t even in the same ballpark. I’d like to think we could manage to have at least the same degree of excitement for the Greatest Hero of all as we do for those.