Thomas Griffin 2/5/21
On Friday, March 29th the annual March for Life took place in a virtual context. While this was radically different from the usual gathering of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. there were still some inspiring moments of hope and renewal. The keynote speaker was Tim Tebow whose message and witness was both moving and contradictory to the mainstream sports and entertainment world that Tebow is from.
He began his speech recalling the hypothetical story of a mother and father who were consistently told that their fifth child should be aborted because there were too many medical issues. The mother in the story even continued her pregnancy when the doctor advised her that her own life could be threatened if the child was kept alive. The delivering doctor recalled that the baby boy who was born was a miracle baby because the placenta was not attached and there was no explanation for how he was able to receive nutrition in the womb.
Placing the boy in the mother’s arms, the doctor said, “Here is your son, Mrs. Tebow.” Above everything else, “I was so grateful that my mom gave me a chance at life,” Tim noted. So many are not given that opportunity in our world today. Statistics show that there are roughly one million abortions each year in the United States and up to 56 million around the world each year. These are only the abortions that we know are reported, so this number does not account for those children who lose their lives in undocumented abortions.
“Every single life matters to God,” Tebow stated emphatically. While countless sports stars voice their concerns for inequality in other areas, Tim is among the handful of stars who stand up for life at all stages and is not ruled by what the mainstream media might think of him. If God is real and he creates us then all life has infinite dignity that must be protected and fought for. Perhaps, this is why he described how difficult it is to stand for life by reflecting on how Jesus Christ performed his rescue mission for humanity.
Tebow focused much of his talk on the understanding of what Jesus accomplished on the cross and what his motivation was for doing so. Christ suffered immeasurable pain in his beating, humiliation and crucifixion. “How did he endure it? What was his motivation?” Investigating the word “passion” is the key. We are told that people are passionate for sports, certain causes, or careers but Jesus’ defining moment was his passion.
“The word ‘passion’ literally means to suffer,” Tebow noted. Jesus was only able to endure that pain because he had a motivation that was firm. Christ’s motivation on the cross was “the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). That joy was your face and my face and the face of every human person no matter their age, background or state in life. “Jesus,” Tebow continued, “had a mission and he accomplished it…he had a motivation and that’s why he could endure.” When you are passionate about something you’ll do it anyway even if you are going to suffer.
Some may say, Tim noted, that he is passionate about sports. “Does that really matter?” he asked himself on camera: “I don’t think so,” was his response. “We must be passionate about the unborn, the neglected, the forgotten, the trafficked, and the thrown away” because people are what matter the most in life.
He challenged all viewers to be pro-life in every area, not just conerning the unborn. We have to learn to “love better,” was his refrain. The word “love” that is used in the Bible is the Greek word agape and it is the manner in which God loves. Therefore, agape is the highest form of love. Tebow’s favorite definition of love is “to choose the best interest of the other person and act on their behalf.” The best interest of the child in the womb is for them to be protected, no matter what, and acting on their behalf means that we must speak out and act in their defense despite what it will cost us in this culture.
“Be passionate about people” because the fight is going to get harder, Tim noted towards the end of his speech. “We are called to love people, all people,” no matter who they are or what they have done. This is what it means to be pro-life.
“Jesus came on a rescue mission for us, now we must go on a rescue mission for others.” Let us heed the call of Tim Tebow, of the unborn life that is currently being threatened, and of God himself: let us be passionate about authentically loving people and let us stand firm in acting on their behalf, no matter what passion we may have to endure for doing so.
Thomas Griffin teaches at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife and son. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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