Just Do It
Just about everyone has heard of the Nike slogan “Just Do It.” Although the origins of this slogan aren’t the best, advertising professionals selected it as one of the top two taglines of the 20th century. Created in 1988, this slogan became successful because it was determined to be both “universal and intensely personal.” Some professionals in the industry labeled the corresponding advertising campaign as “tough” and “take no prisoners” that was meant to target every American regardless of age and gender and status. Throughout the campaign, Nike famously hired well-known athletes to show that their brand was good enough for professionals. In the end, Nike succeeded because their customers associated their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness (just like their sports heroes).
As many of you know, today is the feast day of our Blessed Lord’s Baptism in the Jordan. As I was sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament this afternoon, Nike’s silly slogan just wouldn’t leave my mind. But I kept wondering why it kept popping up. I figured I would pray the Luminous Mysteries today since the first mystery is the Lord’s Baptism and then my mind would refocus on Jesus…but it didn’t. Once I started praying, the connection between His baptism and Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” hit me.
I know, as you are reading this, the connection probably seems pretty murky at best. What would you say if I told you that this slogan not only relates to our Blessed Lord’s Baptism but also ties in very, very closely to the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary? Let me explain.
As we read and heard Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism in mass today, we heard the very first words spoken by our Blessed Lord when He was starting his ministry. He is addressing John the Baptist when John questions whether Jesus should be baptized. And what are these words? Well, depending on the translation, they are “Allow It;” “Give In;” or “Let It Be So.” In other words, “Just Do It!” Ring a bell??
In this context, Jesus was instructing John to do something that John didn’t necessarily want to do. But what was Jesus really saying? Jesus was telling John (in a nice way) do it My way not yours…even if you don’t understand why. If I could only do the same…
What else was Jesus telling John? We know that John didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he felt unworthy. Where else do we hear something similar? During Mass, we hear “Behold the Lamb of God!” Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world! Who said that?? Oh yeah, it was John the Baptist. And what do we say in response? We mimic John the Baptist and the Roman Centurion at the same time and say “Lord I am not worthy….” Then, what do we do? We allow it, give in, let it be so, and “Just Do It.” We receive communion, say yes to Jesus, and invite Him into our bodies and souls.
So you may be thinking…well that was a cute analogy that I could tie a popular message into the Gospel reading of the day. But wait, the similarities between “Just Do It” and Jesus’ message don’t end there. This theme carries on throughout the Luminous Mysteries, of which the Lord’s Baptism is the first. After we hear “Just Do It” in the first Luminous Mystery, we wonder, could it appear over and over in the second, third, fourth and fifth? Yes it does…loud and clear. Booming in fact.
In the second Luminous Mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana, what do we hear? We hear Mary, the Mother of our Lord, say some pretty powerful words to the servants that have run out of wine. What does she say? She says “Do What He Tells You.” Hmm…sounds a lot like “Just Do It” to me. In fact, it is exactly the same. Our mother is telling us precisely…Just Do It. Do it His way, not yours. Just do what He tells you to do and everything will work out just fine.
Ok, Ok…this must be just a coincidence that this idea/slogan keeps popping up. No, no…it keeps going.
In the Third Luminous Mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, Jesus is heard directly commanding the people: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Moreover, throughout the Gospels we hear similar commands. In Mark 2: 10-11, Jesus commands the paralytic to get up and walk. In Luke 7: 50, Jesus commands the woman to Go in Peace. In John 20: 19-22, Jesus commands the apostles to receive the Holy Spirit and sends them out with the command to spread the Gospel. In each of these cases, what is that familiar phrase we keep hearing over and over again? Do it my way and you will find eternal life. Do it my way and your sins will be forgiven. Do it my way and you will be saved. Just Do It!!
In the Fourth Luminous Mystery, the Transfiguration, the booming voice from Heaven is heard. Can you just imagine it? A deep rumbling voice that rumbles like thunder. “This is my chosen Son”…..wait for it….wait for it…”LISTEN TO HIM!” Just Do It Already!! Is any more explanation needed???
As we come to the Fifth Luminous Mystery, The Institution of the Eucharist, you know what you are going to hear. “Take and Eat! This is my body! This is my Blood! Drink from it all of you! Do this in memory of me!” Yep, still the same message. Just Do It!! Do it my way and you will have eternal life.
I know what you are thinking. We are now at the end of the similarities. It’s time to conclude. Well….not exactly…there is one more concept that we need to consider.
As I mentioned above, why did Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” hit home? Why was it successful? There are a few reasons. (1) The slogan was deemed to be “universal and intensely personal.” (2) The ad campaign was described as “tough” and “take no prisoners” and was meant to target every American regardless of age, gender, etc. (3) Nike’s customers associated their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness because they saw their sports heroes using the brand. Do I really need to explain the connection? Well, I will and I will keep it short, I promise.
(1) – If Nike’s slogan is universal and intensely personal, how much more are the directions from Jesus, Mary, and God the Father? When they tell you to “Just Do It!” what could be more personal than that? Our Father, Mother, Brother, King, Lord, Judge, and Friend are all telling us the exact same thing. Just Do It! Who else is closer to our hearts than they are? If you aren’t going to listen to them, who ARE you going to listen to??
(2) – If Nike’s ad campaign was tough and take no prisoners, and targeted each and every person, how much more hard hitting is Jesus’ message? It doesn’t get any harder than being arrested, stripped, beaten, kicked, spit on, punched, crowned, pushed down, whipped, dragged, punctured, pierced, hung, and suffocated on a tree in the searing heat…when wholly and entirely innocent. I’m sorry, whose message is tough and take no prisoners again?? Whose message touches the hearts of all people?
(3) – If Nike’s slogan inspired people to believe in the message because their heroes believed and performed, then just how much more of an example do we need? Never mind that the Savior himself says JUST DO IT…Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul…the list goes on…all say the exact same thing. In fact, EACH AND EVERY saint, blessed, venerable, angel, and soul in Heaven says the same thing. JUST DO IT! How many more heroes do we need? To put it in sports terms, can you imagine if each and every hall of fame athlete from every single sport all said that one particular piece of equipment was the entire reason for their success??? What would we do? We would go out and Just Do It! Well, guess what…each and every angel and soul in Heaven is saying just that. So when are we going to wake up and take it seriously. When are we going to Just Do It??
So in the end, why was Nike successful? They succeeded because their customers associated their purchases with the prospect of achieving the same greatness as their sports heroes. What is more important than achieving the greatness of Heaven?!? What more do we need to associate His way with Heaven? What more do we need to show that His way is the best way? What more do we need to see that our heroes in the faith achieved Heaven precisely because they did it His way? When it comes right down to it…What exactly more do we need to realize that if we don’t “Just Do It” His way, we won’t achieve that greatness?!?
As we look back on the recurring theme, what do we really see? We see Jesus, Mary, and God the Father all saying the same thing. Just Do It! Do what Jesus tells you. Do it His way not your way. We see all of our heroes in the faith saying the same thing. Just Do It. We see a universal and intensely personal message. We see a hard hitting and take no prisoners mentality. We see the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So ask yourself, when are you going to Just Do It already?
I leave you with the following list of questions to ponder and with the following prayer: Jesus, please help us to realize that Your way is the best way. Help us to Just Do It Your way in our souls, families, jobs, and communities. Help us to be meek and humble of heart and to realize that Your way is easy and your burden light. Help us to find You, know You, and love You…and JUST DO IT ALREADY! All through the intercession of your Mother…
Questions to Ponder:
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like saying the Rosary?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like going to morning mass?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like forgiving?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like going to confession?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like fasting?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like praying?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like letting go and letting God?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like trusting in him?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like tithing?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like evangelizing?
When are you going to Just Do It when you don’t feel like offering it up?