Two weeks ago we saw one of the greatest race finishes of the century when a Dutch cyclist named Mathieu Van der Poel came from behind to win the Amstel Gold race in Holland. The storybook scenario inspired a full-page article in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a short summary:
Van der Poel’s amazing finish
It was Van der Poel’s first season as a road cyclist against the most formidable competition in the world. He made a rookie mistake that put him behind the leaders, but he came back at the very end to win on his home turf. What’s more is that his father won the same race in similar circumstances about 30 years ago.
This is the kind of scenario people dream about. But a cynic says, “It helps to have the right DNA.” And it’s true, Mathieu is a third-generation pro cyclist. But this is the same kind of finish that you and I can expect in the Christian life. For the context, here’s a short summary:
We’ve been reading in daily Mass about the courage of the first disciples–rookies who faced formidable opposition and made a lot of mistakes. Then Stephen was martyred, and the disciples were scattered. Like Van der Poel, they were no longer at the front of the race, so to speak, but they kept on. Phillip is singled out for the way he kept preaching until “with one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.” He cast out demons, and healed the sick until there was “great joy in that city.”
Your amazing finish
Phillip and the Apostles were part of an even more amazing finish, and you can be like them because you come from the same DNA as the first disciples. You’re a son set apart like Mathieu. During daily Mass this week, we’ve been hearing Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse from John 6:
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
You have the same DNA as the first disciples because you partake of the same Body of Christ, which is for the life of the world. You, too, can live with supernatural courage because you share their eternal perspective in Christ. And so it is that the story started in the Book of Acts continues through you and me–the greatest finish ever is still being played out through us by grace.