Everyone has heard of Jesse Owens. He won four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics in 1936. But who has heard of Lutz Long?
Lutz Long was one of Germany's top athletes in the 1936 games. In the long-jump trials, Lutz broke the Olympic record. Only one man could possibly beat him – Jesses Owens.
When it came time to qualify, it didn't appear that Jesse Owens would make it. He fouled his first try and didn't jump far enough on his second try. Then just before his third and final try, he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Lutz Long. He suggested Jesse draw a line a few inches before the takeoff board and jump from there. It worked; Jesse Owens qualified by a foot. He went on to win four gold medals in the Olympics.
Ordinary athletes don't help their opponents. But Lutz Long was different. He was no ordinary athlete. He did for Jesse what he would have liked Jesse to do for him.
In today's gospel, Jesus is telling his followers that they must be different. He called them to be more than ordinary people. He called them to be like himself.
We are Jesus's followers. The message of today's gospel may be stated this way: Jesus has called his followers to live their ordinary lives in an extraordinary way, just as Jesus himself did.
Sincerely in Christ,