As you know, a basketball hoop has a net on it. What you may not now is the special sound it makes when the basketball passes directly through the hoop, when it touches nothing but the net. It is music to the ears of every basketball player. It makes a sound like, Swish!
When I was a teen, I watched a lot of basketball on TV. So, what would normally happen is that I would get so inspired by watching, that when the game was over, immediately I was out on the basketball court practicing. All the shots, the moves that I saw on the players on TV, I would try to do the same thing. I got inspired by watching my heroes play.
I was a big Larry Bird fan. Now of all the things that Larry Bird did great, the best in my mind was when he would score a 3-pointer at the end of the game to win the game. It’s from hitting game-winning three-pointers that Larry Bird became like the king of the city. So, as you can imagine, I spent a lot of time on the basketball court practicing the game-winning three-pointer. 5 …. 4 …. 3 …. 2 …. 1 …. Swish! The crowd goes crazy ….
Some years later, I was playing on a team in a summer basketball league. Our opponents: the first-place superteam with 3 guys over 6′-5″. My team: four ex-drug-dealers and me. So, here it was at the end of the game, and the superteam gets a basket with 6 seconds left to lead by 2 points. We inbound the ball and go upcourt. 5 …. 4 …. 3 …. 2…. 1 – and for some reason they left me open for a 3-pointer. I got the ball and shot it right away. While the ball was in the air, the referee blew the whistle. And then … Swish! Somehow we won, and for the first and only time in my life. It was just like I dreamed. Now, I got to do what Larry Bird did. I got to be king for a day.
Before Jesus went off to be crucified, He left one final word with His apostles: “Watch!” Why? Because this was the game of all time, it was Him versus the devil, with eternal possession of the world on the line. At the very last moments of Jesus’ life, as the time ticks down, and it looks like the devil has won the game, in the middle of all the brutality and humiliation and insults, Jesus is going to take a game-winning three-point shot. He is going to forgive everyone for what they’ve done to Him. He’s going to take a hated criminal to heaven with Him. He’s going to give away all he’s got left: His best friend and His mother, and He is going to hand over His body to His mother and His spirit to His Father. That’s His game-winning, three-pointer that wins the game. 5 … 4 …. 3 …. 2 …. 1 …. Swish! That’s what’s going to make Him King of the Universe.
Why does He want us to watch? Because He wants us to be inspired. So that when our turn comes, when the pressure is on, when everything seems to be against us, when we have enemies that hang us out to dry, when it looks like the devil’s about to win, we can forgive, we can lift others up, we can give ourselves away. We can make a game-winning, three-pointer.
“This is the King of the Jews.” (Lk 23:38)
Happy Feast of Cristo Rey, Christ the King!