October 29, 2014 by fathertj
(Printed in the Texas Catholic Herald on October 28, 2014)
I am a huge sports fan, so this is one of my favorite times of the year! The baseball playoffs are underway and the World Series is such an awesome event. Football season is in full swing and teams are really starting to come into mid-season form. The NBA preseason is going on and their season will start very soon. It is an awesome time of year for sports fans to follow their favorite teams!!!
However, it has caused me some time to reflect on how much emphasis we put on sports and wonder if we treat God the way we treat our favorite sports teams. How much more awesome would Christianity be if people took being a follower of God as seriously as they take being a follower of their favorite sports team?
Some of us, (myself included) get so worked up about our favorite team and the biggest sporting events. We will do ANYTHING to support our favorite team. We will dress up as our favorite mascot or paint our bodies in our team’s colors. We do all of this because we root for our teams and want them to do well. When they don’t win we are crushed by their losses or poor performance and it might affect our mood for days or weeks.
How much different would the Church experience be if everyone were to take going to Church as seriously as they took going to a sporting event? I bet people would show up on time and dressed in their finest clothes. I also imagine everyone reading the scriptures before Mass to know what is going to be read so they can get the most of the prayers. I can envision a whole Church praying all the prayers with fervor and enthusiasm and singing every song from the depths of their soul. It would be truly inspirational! If people were to take Mass as seriously as they took their sporting events, every single Mass would be standing room only because people would line up around the block to receive the inspiration they could only find at Mass.
People flock to sporting events hoping their teams win. But Our Lord has already won the greatest victory in history by soundly conquering sin and death and seats are open every Sunday in the local Church. I think if we adopted some of the sporting event mentality to our worship at Church, then we could really change the world. If we talked to others about God and our love of our Faith with the excitement that we talk about our favorite sport, then people would want nothing more than come to Church and experience the love of God with us. My prayer is that sports can teach us how to be better at worship, praising, and following our God. I encourage you the next time you go to Mass to try praying with the fervor that you would if the Texans were playing in the Super Bowl. It might transform your experience of prayer!