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“No Greater Love”, By Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

“No Greater Love”

By Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Do you remember last year’s summer blockbuster documentary on how milk is pasteurized?  Or the action-packed Christmas release, “Stuck in Traffic”?  Of course not.  Nobody would go see those.  Although they’re probably cheap movies to make…maybe we’re onto something…

Nah.  Terrible movie ideas.  Getting popcorn would be the most exciting part of that evening at the theater.  We want to see ACTION.  DRAMA.  Epic stories with HEROES!  That’s why movies like Avengers: Infinity War grossed over $641 million dollars in its debut, the new highest grossing opening for a movie in history.  Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

We love heroes, and not just superheroes.  Think Frodo from Lord of the Rings.  And that wizard with the lightning bolt scar from Harry Potter (I can’t think of his name at the moment).   So what is it that captivates us about heroes?

Sometimes it’s their flashy powers.  Sometimes it’s their bravery or perseverance.  But the movies that really get us are the ones where the hero is willing to sacrifice him/herself for another person or even to save the world.  It’s no surprise that this is what captivates us, because Jesus even says that in the Gospel this week: There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.

Jesus himself went on to do just that.  He traded his life for ours.  And so for Christians, the greatest symbol of love isn’t a cartoon heart, but the Cross.  Thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice for us should cause us to reflect on two things:

First, we should be incredibly grateful for our salvation.  It should become an important part of our own story and our identity.  Many of the people “saved” in these hero movies are never the same – they’re so grateful to their heroes, they erect statues of them and tell the stories of their “salvation” to their children and grandchildren.  So too for us; once we realize the significance of our salvation through Jesus, it should leave us changed.  Just like the Apostles, we should find ourselves unable to contain the joy and gratitude we have, and it should overflow to everyone we encounter.

Second, just like little kids in superhero sequel movies are always wearing t-shirts with the hero’s logo who saved the world in the first film and want to be like them, we should seek to be like Christ – and the best way to do that is to “lay down our lives for a friend.”  More often than not we do this in a metaphorical way, by making sacrifices and denying ourselves, putting others first.  But we also have many saints throughout the two thousand years of the Church who have taken that literally and given their lives for others in imitation of Christ.

So who is someone in your life you can sacrifice for today?  Take care of the dishes for your mom.  Give a friend a listening ear even when you’ve had a long day.  Let your friend have the last boneless buffalo wing.  If we start small, putting others before ourselves, we’ll become like the saints and maybe even get a spin-off movie franchise of our own!

 

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