This is not the rant of a disgruntled Steelers fan. Being a northerner, my team is the Calgary Stampeders, but I watch the American imitation from time to time (in Canada, we just had the 98th Grey Cup vs. Super Bowl XLV).
Just imagine that you were a die-hard Steelers fan: the type who goes bare-chested to Heinz Field when it is below zero, the type who had your house done black with yellow trim, the type who tried to convince his wife that Polamalu is a legitimate name for your son. You drove down to Dallas last week and dolled out $200 to watch the game in the parking lot, only to see your team turn the ball over 3 times and lose by a hair. After the game you are slowly moping away from the game when a screaming green and gold guy invites you to the victory party in the Packers’ locker room.
A normal person wouldn’t even give this option a second’s thought. If you are a fan of one team, the victory of the other is time to lick your wounds not celebrate. Even though we all prefer celebration to a pity-party, if we are saddened at event, we seek out others who share our sorrows. Man naturally seeks to be with those who share his desires and goals, or ever his hatreds and regrets. Watch any election victory bash: whichever party it might be, only people of that party are celebrating.
Our life is more than watching pro-sports but there are some similarities. In our life we have to cheer for one team or the other, to share and desires and goals of one team or the other. The big difference is that we already know the result; Jesus trounces Satan. If someone shares Satan’s desires now, he would not want to go to Jesus’ victory parade just like a Steelers fan would avoid everything that reminds him of Wisconsin (even cheese) for a week after the game.
Hell exists for those who don’t want to celebrate Christ’s victory. They have a place to eternally regret which team they cheered for. Heaven will be a million times a Super Bowl victory party, instead of simply lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy, we will live in the ultimate trophy, the New Jerusalem. The book of Revelation presents it as a crystal clear diamond glittering like with diamonds, emeralds and lapis. We can look forward to this party but it can’t be forced down someone’s throat.
Heaven or hell is a free choice: who are you cheering for? Each sin is a shout for the opposing squad. Jesus wants us to be die-hard fans not just fans who cheer from our couch when his team is leading. You can’t sit on the sidelines, vaguely hoping Christ will win and offering an odd cheer every so often. The battle is total, Christ’s victory is total, so the decision must be total.
Matthew P. Schneider, LC is a religious brother and seminarian with the Legionaries of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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