On June 11, 2014 at approximately 12:30 p.m., LeBron James announced that he was coming home. It set in motion what is possibly the greatest sports moment in Cleveland history: the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the 2016 NBA Championship.
In returning home to Northeast Ohio, some followers on the diocesan Facebook page likened LeBron’s return to the story of the Prodigal Son. Outside da Box asked the question, “LeBron James is returning home. Do you know someone that needs to come home to the faith? Start by giving them an example. Then invite.”
But among all of the pomp and circumstance, the rallies and parade, what does one take away from this experience? What is the faith lesson today?
As fans filed out of Quicken Loans Arena into the streets of downtown Cleveland on Sunday, June 19, there were high fives, hugs, in short…joy.
The Scriptures often speak of joy. In the Gospel of John, “…your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” For the time being, no one will be able to take away the joy that Northeast Ohio feels today.
From births and birthdays to sacramental celebrations, life is filled with joy. And Scripture teaches us that God celebrates those joys, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, who will sing joyfully because of you” (Zephaniah 3:17).
The joy felt during this championship run can serve as a point of reference to bring joy to other areas of our lives. Pope Francis, in speaking about sports during a General Audience, said, “sport is a universal language that brings together peoples, and can help persons meet and overcome conflicts.”
He continued, “Therefore, I encourage you to live the dimension of sports as the gymnasium of virtue in the full development of individuals and communities.”
We celebrate the Cavs win and we pray that we can use this time of joy to be #ALLin216 to bring joy to the lives of those we live with, work with and most importantly, those with whom we pray.