I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my heroes: Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. During World War II, the Monsignor was in Rome and, on his own, began to serve and save the allied soldiers and Jews in the area. Through the Nazi occupation of Rome, with his very life on the line, he led a committee that protected, fed and clothed more than 4,000 people in and around Rome. When the Allies retook Rome, he even aided the German SS Colonel’s family to escape rather than be killed by the mobs.
Another of my heroes is Sergent Alvin York from the First World War. He thought war was crazy, but when he saw the live being lost on both sides, he took action to end the conflict in the area. Saving his own men, he took 132 German soldier captive almost single handedly, killing only 24. With few men, he marched the new captives to POW camps. He said, “I went there to make peace.” Who knows how many men on both sides had been saved because of his courage.
Both these men showed great courage during the times of war. They were willing to give everything they had, even their lives to serve those they knew and many they didn’t know. They showed compassion to their enemies. They helped those in need. They had the courage to do what was right even though it was difficult or well-nigh impossible. These are the qualities of a hero.
Yet, there is one who has every quality of a perfect hero. All the others are only great because they have qualities which mirror our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was He who did all things for us. His lived for us. He helped those who were ill, hungry, or distressed. He taught others to do the same. He suffered all alone for us. He had compassion on His enemies. He died for us. And He rose from the dead for us.
We alone cannot make up for the errors we make during our life, leaving us unclean before our Maker. He conquered that which we cannot conquer ourselves and offered Himself, freely, as the ransom for our souls. If we will just follow Him, do as He asks us, serve each other, and turn to Him at all times, He will be the one who Saves. The Great Hero.
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” – Moses 1:39