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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Tim Tebow's powerful message

     NFL football quarterback Tim Tebow has all the sports world a-twitter because of his up-front pride in his personal relationship to Jesus Christ, and his stance on clean living. He believes in chastity before marriage, the importance of fatherhood and the traditional family, and he is not afraid to talk about it, and live it. All of this has, of course, rankled the left-leaning world of entertainment, of which pro sports is a member in good standing. Sports panelists don't know what to make of this guy, but after a lot of head scratching and sarcasm, they finally get the picture. Tim Tebow is for real.
     Something else which bothers the sports world is Tim's habit of going down on one knee, and praying to God after a touchdown. He has been mimicked and teased, and even the players who habitually do their own little post-touchdown dramatic monologue, which nobody understands or cares to, have given him a hard time. Perhaps they are envious of Tim's sincerity and lack of irony.
     All of this is nothing new. In baseball, Albert Pujols, and many others make the sign of the cross during the game, especially before going up to bat. He gets little flak for this, because many people have no idea of the significance or meaning of this action. Perhaps Pujols is asking Jesus to protect him from the ball. Perhaps he is asking Jesus to take him in his arms in the event that he is killed by the ball. Who knows? But he does it quickly, and many do not even notice the gesture. This is what he choses to do, and it is fine. I am certain many people think he is asking God to let him hit a home run. I really doubt it.
     But Tim Tebow actually mouths prayers which are clearly visible, although not audible on television. He may be thanking Jesus for his God-given talents, or perhaps he is simply demonstrating who is really the boss of his team. Whatever the case, Tim Tebow has done an awful lot to publish the power of positive thinking, faith in God, and the beauty of humility. He goes down on one knee as a humble man, not as a show-off doing some sort of rhythmic egocentric dance in honour of oneself. To tell you the truth, these little theatrical improvs in honour of oneself unsettle me. They have, in my opinion, belittled the NFL, and have made it more of a side-show as compared to the old days when men simply scored, and then went back to the bench to shake hands with their coach and fellow players.
     What Tim Tebow has done is bring prayer to the forefront, and he has done it with a dignity, and a perseverance which just has to be based in a very deep faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine the effect this must be having on teenagers who have never seen a professional football player kneel down in prayer. "What is he doing?" they must ask themselves.
     They have witnessed baseball players cupping their hands, and looking up towards the heavens in thanks after hitting a home run, but this is altogether different. It takes guts and focus to stop everything and get down on one knee to pray to God in thanksgiving in front of a secular crowd, which has little stomach for spiritual activity.
     We Catholics have some notion of humility because we go down on two knees and bow very low when we are in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. The only difference is that I get much more satisfaction kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament than Tim Tebow does when he kneels in front of a crowd after a touchdown. I'm certain of that.
     Kudos to Tim Tebow for showing us how important his faith is to him and those around him. He is a leader on the field, and also off the field. His message is as loud and clear as the thundering cheers he gets after scoring a touchdown in Denver, and even though the numbers of Biblical verses are no longer written on his eye-black, because it is now illegal to do so, it is obvious to the whole world when he kneels down to pray what Tim Tebow is trying to say.
     It is written on his face and on his heart, where the same message of the Good News of Christ should reside in all Christians. It is written in the example he gives to young people and in the way he accepts the leadership of the Prince of Peace, even though he enters a violent battle every time he plays a game.
     Thanks, Tim. Thanks for showing us who you really are.


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