In the commercial below, a man is easily talked out of his meal by Yoda, the Star Wars Jedi Master. However, when the Jedi Master continues on to try to talk him out of his Pepsi, the man realizes that this is a bridge too far. He refuses to give way any longer.
I wonder if this is not an image for Christians in their battle against the world and the devil. Indeed, too often we are willing to give way to those in the world (and the devil himself), who ask us to surrender our dignity, make compromises, and give way to sin. So easily we surrender our serenity to a world that provokes anxiety and anger; we surrender our chastity to a world that exalts lust; we give over our generosity to a world that instills in us a fear that drives us to hoard; we hand over our prophecy to a world that demands our silence; we neglect our soul and hand over its care to a world that demands we be fixated on our body, on good looks and our physical health; we hand over prayer and the celebration of the sacraments to a world that demands all of our time.
In effect, the world and the devil say to us, “All you have is mine … now hand it over.”
After surrendering his meal, the man wakes up to what is happening and stops handing things over. For him, it is prospect of losing his Pepsi that brings about this awakening. But what about us? Have you reached this point? How? When? What was the “bridge too far” for you? For addicts, this point is called “hitting bottom,” when the insanity of their lifestyle finally becomes too much to handle and they are finally willing to say “No!” or “Enough!”
For most of us, perhaps the wake up moment comes when we finally begin to see that the world asks too much of us, takes too much of us without offering us anything of real or lasting value in return. Perhaps we, like the man in the commercial, start to recognize the lies, deception, and theft taking place as the world tries to have us ignore our true hunger and give away the Eucharistic meal and Holy Communion that is our baptismal right.
Yoda tries to mesmerize the man in the commercial, saying about the meal, “You do not want.” The world and the devil also say of God, “You do not want.” It’s as if to say, “Your desires are not about God and the things awaiting you in Heaven; they are about me. Give me your heart, your loyalty, your life.”
When the man in the commercial finally does wake up, it’s because of a drink. In this I am reminded of the woman at the well in the Gospel of John. Jesus finally reaches her through thirst and teaches, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:13-14). For her and for the man in the commercial, it is thirst that awakens them to the lies and deceptions of the world.