Luke Skywalker was looking for a role model. His uncle was a farmer with a limited vision, who didn’t understand why he’d want to seek his fortune among the stars. When the hologram of Princess Leia implored Obi-wan Kenobi for help, Luke turned to him and the old Jedi responded. Capt. Han Solo saw Luke as a little brother and would’ve liked it if Luke had followed his example, but we all know that’s crazy. Then there was Yoda, who fooled Luke at first and then taught him more about the ways of the Force. Both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine tried to bring Luke to the Dark Side, but he accepted neither of those. In the end, Luke said “I am a Jedi like my father.” His model wasn’t just one living person, it was a combination of traits he saw in those he admired, and his ideal was someone he’d never met: a Jedi who went over to the Dark Side, but whose hidden goodness he could find inspiration from.
As we go through our lives, many people present themselves to us as role models. The vast majority of them aren’t worth considering, people seeking followers more than students to empower. The problem with any one particular person is their weaknesses can undercut any good example they can give us. Like Luke Skywalker, we need to find individual characteristics of people we admire to imitate without giving our unconditional approval of any living person.
There is one model who provides perfect guide: Christ. We may not understand Him completely, and figuring out what He would do in any given situation isn’t easy. But we don’t have to qualify ourselves for His guidance or grace, we don’t need to become worthy or improve ourselves just to get His attention. The apostle Paul reminds us that the Spirit of Christ will give us Life; Jesus reminds us that taking on His yoke will give us rest. It is through imitation of Christ, something many wise and spirit filled people have worked at for almost 2000 years, we find the best example, we become the best person we can be, we reach the greatest happiness possible.
Jesus hides nothing from us, He gives himself to us completely in the Eucharist. The biggest challenge we face is opening ourselves to Christ, trying to follow His example, taking on His yoke.