Thursday was Jackie Robinson Day in Brooklyn. He was born 100 years ago on Thursday. Born in Georgia, he was raised in California. He was a great athlete -basketball, football, baseball. He hoped to play major league baseball – but he could not, because of the color of his skin. Can you imagine? He ended up playing for the KC Monarchs of the old Negro Leagues.
The President of the Brooklyn Dodgers was Branch Rickey, a man of deep Christian faith. He said “There was something wrong at the heart of the game I loved – and I ignored it. But I can no longer do that.” He heard that Jackie was also a man of deep faith and inner strength & he asked to meet him.
Do you want to play for the Dodgers? You must be strong. But - you must be strong enough NOT to fight back. They will call you every name in the book, try to hurt you – but you must live out the Sermon on the Mount – turn the other cheek.” Mr. Rickey, I have 2 cheeks.”
April 15, 1947 played his first game. It was terrible how he was treated – remember – love your enemies. Dorothy Day would say – love is a harsh and dreadful thing in action compared to love in dreams.
A turning point – that May - first game in Cincinnati – yelling terrible things – a man from the south SS Pee Wee Reese came over and put his arm around Jackie – I want everyone to see who I really am – maybe one day we will all wear 42 so no one can tell us apart. On April 15 – once again everyone in baseball will wear 42.
Because of Jackie, the color barrier in baseball was destroyed forever.
St. Paul writes . . . love is patient, love is kind, is not jealous . . .
What love is this? Greeks knew one word cannot contain all meanings:
Eros – attraction – like I love pizza or car
Storge – family – special relationship with my brother and sisters
Philia – friendship – that grows over the years
Agape – self emptying – Aquinas – willing the good of the other as other. It’s not about me – it is about you! JESUS!
That’s why: love must be patient & kind. Love must not be jealous or rude. It does not seek self-interest, is not quick tempered.
Believes all – faith in God and faith in humanity.
Hopes all – even when there is evil, goodness will triumph.
Endures all – even when there seems to be no hope left – does not return evil for evil.
This is telling us what God is like – that God is love, and if we want to become like God, we must love as God loves.
Jackie was one of the best people of our time “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives” In the end remain only faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love!