Monday, March 11, 2019
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During my eighth-grade basketball season, my Sts. Joseph & John Vikings faced off against the St. Bartholomew Pirates. I was excited for the game because Joey, a friend from my soccer team, was one of their best players. He was competitive and always passionate about winning. In the final minute of a close game, a call went my team’s way, much to the dismay of my friend. He flopped on the ground and yelled out when the referee indicated that my team now had possession of the ball. Here’s the moment I hang on to: Joey’s dad, the St. Bart’s coach, immediately called timeout and removed Joey from the game. On the sideline, he said something to the effect of, “That is not how we do things.”
In this memory, which has only burned more brightly in my memory as a teacher and now as a parent of three impressionable little ones, I see Joey’s dad holding up the values of fair play, respect, and self-control in a moment of great emotion. The outcome of the game was irrelevant if it came at the expense of a loss of virtue. He was helping his son to play basketball (and live life) according to a much higher value system.
Today’s readings from Leviticus, Psalm 19, and Matthew all emphasize the importance of living according to God’s rules. Of course, as is the case with all noble efforts, these commands are not easy to follow. However, the reward could not be greater: eternal life with God in heaven.
As we continue through Lent, may we be people who understand the decisions we make. Are we living according to the rules received from celebrities/Instagram/YouTube, or are we acting according to carefully-discerned instructions from God? Lord, help us to be like Joey’s dad—knowing the right choice and immediately doing something about it.
Joe Sheehan, Theology Teacher