“Making Dreams takes Commitment!”
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – B
At the Winter Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, Dan Jansen, a favored speed skater for the United States was ready to win the 500 meters and bring home a gold medal. It was not his time – he slipped and fell adding one more jinx to his Olympic career.
However, four days later, Dan skated his last Olympic race, the 1000 meters and set a world record and won the Olympic Gold medal. As he stood there during the singing of the National Anthem, with his medal proudly around his neck, Dan looked Heavenward and saluted, saying: “This if for you, Jane. I love you!”
Before he left the U.S. for Norway, Dan spoke with his sister Jane, who was dying of Leukemia. Dan didn’t want to go, he wanted to be by his sister in her final days. Jane insisted that he go and win the Gold Medal for his country and for her.
Finally, after much soul-searching, Dan decided to proceed on to the Winter games in Norway where he won the Gold.
Dan had looked in the face of failure many times before as he pursued the career of speed skating. His first failure came at age 11 and didn’t stop until he won the Gold Medal. But it was the choice of commitment that Dan had made early on in his life. His sister Jane knew this and wouldn’t let him back out, even as she was dying.
In a Post-Olympic interview, when asked how he overcame the obstacle of knowing that his sister was dying and he wasn’t at her side, Dan responded:
“It is a salute and a tribute to people everywhere-whether chasing the Olympic Gold or in pursuit on one’s own dream that in order to achieve goals one must learn to persevere, to overcome adversity, to never give up and to always strive to do your best.”
When faced with the choice of following false gods or the Lord of Life, the Israelites chose to follow the Lord of Life! They knew by experience, that even during adversity, in the face of prejudice, in the face of ridicule, in the face of uncertainty, the Lord of Life had already lifted their ancestors from the grips of slavery, protected them on their journey through the desert and brought them to the Promised Land.
In the gospel, the whiners and complainers are at it again. “How can anyone take this seriously?” they ask. “This sort of talk is hard to take” they say. What did Jesus ask?
“Does it shake your faith? Jesus knew that some would not follow him. Jesus knew that some would despise him. Jesus also knew that some would ridicule him. Therefore, he says, “no one comes to me unless the Father draws them.”
Yet, it is Peter who has the right answer. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Everlasting Life! We have come to believe, Peter says, that you are God’s holy one!