Sport as a metaphor for lifeFaith is not a verb. Jesus Christ The Athlete.
Facts are facts.
There has always been gravity, magnetism, dark matter, circulation of blood in our bodies, the vastness of The Universe
Our understanding of these has changed – and will continue to change as new technologies – and thus discoveries – appear.
Truths/perception of reality need not be confrontational, may be symphonic.
The word Faith (NOT a verb) encapsulates:
Trust: ‘I believe you’
Perception: ‘I believe you are human – you may be a Martian’
Understanding: ‘I believe in The Big Bang, magnetism, I am going to die.
I believe you are The Body of Christ.
I believe Creation is God’s gift of love’.
As Christ carried his Cross, God carries the Universe.
I see that all is gift – and the giver is there within the gift thus
The whole of space-time/Creation has a divine sentimental value.
4. Value system: ‘I believe in sport, I believe in telling the truth’
5. Commitment: ‘I believe in you – and thus will live my life for you in marriage.
‘I believe in God the Creator and Redeemer’
With the optic of Faith life is at its fullest across the PIES of our life: The Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional has within it the Spiritual.
The 'S' multiplies the PIE many times, enabling us to be in contact with the divine giver in the gift of creation.
Hope = Faith + work
In the PIES, whatever their temperature and texture, as water is always a compund of oxygen and hydrogen - no matter whether it ice, steam, snow or sweat - Love is a compound of Appreciation and Respect. "I need you the way you are"
This affects the PIE making life in all the PIES be, seem and feel beautiful.
Jesus Christ The Athlete
An athlete is someone committed to sport, who abides by its rules and is prepared to do all it takes to succeed. To succeed choices have to be made. Sport is always physical and takes time and demands energy.
He or she has to select a sport – or in the case of triathlons, decathlons andpentathlons a series of sports – and then focus, commit, work, endure and learn if they are to achieve their aims.
To become great, athletes know they cannot do it alone. They need a support team. They also need to acquire a series of virtues identified by John Paul II in his writings: courage, courtesy, determination, generosity, honesty, loyalty, self-discipline, sacrifice and team spirit.
The life of Jesus Christ ticked all these boxes. Jesus of Nazareth was an athlete and thus may be seen as a role model – and inspiration – for modern-day athletes who are able to see the sacramental value of what they are doing.
The name of Jesus Christ’s game is Redemption: “I have come that you may have life, life to the full”. [Jn 10, 10] That was his choice. His vocation. For this he had been selected by his Father.
Christ was certainly committed, as shown by the whole of his life. He knew he was going to be arrested and killed yet went ahead: “ Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” [Mt 20, 17-19
Whatever the cost Jesus stayed committed to his sport, his God-given role: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” [Mt 26, 39].
To achieve his goal of Redemption-Salvation he knew he had to die so as to rise into a new quality of life: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself”. [Jn 12,32]
Jesus got into training – his period of prayer in the desert [Lk 4,1] - and continued with that spiritual training everyday as seen in Mark’s portrait of a typical day of his life: “ Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” [Mk 1, 35]
As every athlete, Jesus needed a team of helpers, his Apostles: “And He said to them, ‘Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’.” [Mt 4, 19] and supporters: “Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs” [Mk15, 40-41].
The set of virtues required by an athlete are there, patently in the life of Jesus, throughout the Gospels.
Courage. Five times Jesus rejects temptations for an easier life:
Three times in the desert [Mt 4, 3-10]
Once by Peter: “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
And once on the cross:” Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” [Mt 27, 40]
Courtesy “Zacchaeus, come down. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. [Lk 19, 5]
Jairus’s daughter: “He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. [Mk 5, 42]
Determination: “The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life [Jn 3, 14; Mk 9, 31; 10, 33]
Generosity; “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” [Mt 19, 29]
Honesty: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” [Mt 11, 3-6]
Loyalty: “If you are looking for me, then let these men go. This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: I have not lost one of those you gave me.” [Jn 18, 8]
Self-discipline: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. [Lk 4, 1-2]
Sacrifice: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” [Mt 8, 20]
Team spirit: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Mt 28, 18]
The Feast of The Epiphany 6.1.14 Mt 2, 1-12
As you know ‘Epiphany’ means manifestation, disclosure.
Today we celebrate the revelation of the God of many names in our human form.
Think of that bit of water between England and France.
What is it called?
But in French it is? La Manche.
In German Armel Kanal.
Same water different names.
God is there in some way in A SON.
A for Art in all its forms – when it is great art.
In music, in architecture, in dance, painting, in the liturgy, in literature including The Bible and The Koran…
God is there in my Self
In the beauty of Nature.
God is to do with life’s BOMB.
God is there in life’s
Some people are blind. Some colour-blind. Some God-blind
But if you can recognise God in A SON
And sense the BOMB
Then life is much more fun.
God does not force Himself on us.
He respects us too much to do that.
But if you can realise that presence
And have it within you
You can export it out
Into the lives of your friends and family
And become your own personal Epiphany.
Worth a try this New Year.