Wow! Hope you're having a week full of joy!
Even on this week!
Even tho' it's been a week of sad news. This week, a person we have all known for years from her advice column in the papers, died at 94. Only thing…for me it was a little unsad because I thought "Dear Abby" had already been dead for years! So it was nice to know she hadn't been, even tho' now she is. Same thing happened when Red Skelton died. I was sad because I always loved that guy, but not as sad as I would have been if I had not believed that he had already been dead years before! Which he hadn't been!
And it's really been a week of happy news! There was this person that we all thought was dead and it turns out, she isn't dead! She didn't die of her disease! It's almost like a miracle! Except, the reason she didn't die is that she didn't exist!!
Here's the skinny…This football player for Notre Dame had a girl friend. Except they weren't really friends because they had never actually met. Their relationship was just thru social media. Which goes to show that when you "friend" someone on Facebook, they may or may not actually be your friend…because they may or may not actually be at all!
He may or may not have known that she wasn't real, but he did seem sad when she died of leukemia (which she didn't actually do because she didn't exist) He didn't attend her funeral, which seemed a little weird if they were so tight, but it would have been weirder if he had gone because they didn't actually have one…because she didn't actually die…because she didn't actually exist.
It does turn out that he did continue to talk about her inspiration both to him and his whole team even after folks (including him) confirmed that it was all made up. This was probably because the love story of someone who cared and died was giving his team courage to face what was ahead.
Her inspiration was real. It's just that she wasn't.
I guess believing stories about people that aren't true do inspire people some. I think scholars agree that the story about li'l George Washington not fibbing about chopping down the cherry tree was made up. But it did inspire us to not lie about vandalism.
But I wonder…
Millions through the ages have been motivated, inspired, encouraged by the Story of stories…of Someone Who loved them and died. They have faced stonings, lions, and prison because they were told of His love and death for them. This story changed them…and us! So…
What if we find out it was just made up? What if we've "friended" Jesus and found He wasn't ever there?
Some say that even if it wasn't true…even if He'd never lived and they just believed He had, they'd be glad to believe in Him anyway. They say it inspired them to be different.
But St. Paul didn't feel that way! He said if it isn't true, he wouldn't be Saint Paul! If he believed and lived and died for something that isn't true, he'd be an idiot!
He said, "If Jesus isn't really risen from the dead…and if we believe He has…we're of all men most "pitiable". It's a word that means "pitifull"…"miserable". It'd be dumb! If He isn't risen, "where two or three are gathered in His name," they'd be "dumb and dumber"!
We DON'T believe things that haven't happened! Peter wrote, "We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty!"
"We saw Him!"
And not just His Facebook profile pic! They saw His face!
When they were arrested and dragged before the authorities for saying Jesus is alive, they said, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, but we cannot help speaking of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4.20)
Authorities tried in tons of ways to stop them from saying it but all the officials would have had to do was go to the tomb and drag out the body. But they couldn't! Because they knew it wasn't there!
Paul said 500 people saw Jesus risen from the dead! And he said some were still alive! "Ask 'em if you want!"
Paul told Herod that Jesus rose and lives and added, "These things weren't done in a corner!" (Acts 26)
And it isn't just believing inspiring stories that has changed us! Jesus is alive today! He's the One who is changing us!
By the way, apparently inspiration from stories that may or may not be true, only goes so far.
Notre Dame -14