From time immemorial, human beings have been obsessed with fame. People have wanted to be head of the tribe, mayor of the village, or the best whatever. People want to be important. People want to matter. People want to make it.
Here’s the thing, though. People are important. People do matter. People don’t make it. Two out of three ain’t bad, right? The simple fact is, people matter, because they’re people. People are important, because they’re people. Both of these are clearly true, because God became man and died and rose for people. The third, that’s more complicated.
Do you want to make it? Well, I guess first you have to define what that means. If by making it you mean getting what you want, you can do that to a certain extent. If by making it you mean a promotion or some fame or wealth or whatever, it’s somewhat doable, with hard work, the right connections, and the ball bouncing your way a few times. If by making it, though, you mean being in control, manufacturing your life, having the ultimate say, being the master of your fate, well there are too many people in the world, too many factors in how it works, and too many circumstances beyond your control for that to work. That’s not to deny human responsibility. It’s just to acknowledge human reality. And, in the end, you’ll be better for your neighbor, your spouse, your children, your friends, your employers or employees by acknowledging, by being what you are, if what you are is one made.
So what, then? What am I after? What I’m after is that the answer, therefore, is not to make it, but to be made. The answer is to be made a child of God, to be made one in the hands of God pierced for your transgressions, to have salvation and destiny and all that done to you, to be part of a plan bigger than yourself.
So, how do you do that, how do you get made? You don’t do it. That’s the point. The gospel life is a life received. It’s a life given. And the real joy is in the fact it’s a gift. That’s what sets you free to enjoy it, to live out your vocations in freedom, to appreciate things for what they are, to be you, not as you hope to make yourself, but as you’ve been made, as Christ’s, whatever the circumstances.
Have you made it? If you have, I’m pretty sure you haven’t. Yes, human beings are creative creatures by nature; we’re built that way. Yes, we make things. But if you think you’ve made it, as in you’ve made yourself in some “made” fashion, there’s a parable for that, and it involves full storehouses but an empty soul. Receive, friends. Delight in God’s gifts. And, in that way, know that you have something to give, because you are important, because you do matter, as the crucifix and empty tomb testify.