4th Sunday - homily
So, we have the Super Bowl tonight – should be a good match-up. It’s the Pittsburgh Steelers who have won five Super Bowls against the Arizona Cardinals who are making their first Super Bowl appearance. I’m rooting for the Cardinals for the obvious reason: the Redskins beat the Cardinals this season, so we can say that we beat the Super Bowl champs! It has been really neat to read the comments by the players and coaches on both teams about their faith in Christ. So many have been unabashedly proclaiming their strong Christian faith and on such a big stage. It’ll be cool for whoever wins the game.
I would like to use the analogy of a football team to describe God and the Church, using some parts of today’s Gospel and the Creed that we profess, tweaking some of the wording to fit the analogy. God is the “upper management” of the team. God the Father is the owner and maker of the team. God the Son is the general manager and God the Spirit is the coach. We, the Church, are the players. But, the Son also became a player. By the power of the coach, he came down from the owner’s box and became a player (let’s say a quarterback).
He had great power and authority over his opponents, as we hear in today’s Gospel. His power was so great on and off the field (in deed and in word) that he “amazed” and “astonished” the crowds, and “his fame spread everywhere”. His biggest opponent was sin. He won victory over this archenemy of his on the Cross. It was the greatest victory of all-time in the game of life, in fulfillment of the playbook. As players on his team, we all share in his victory. He retired from the game, and ascended into the owner’s box where he sits at the right hand of the owner.
Now, the Spirit has been the coach from the beginning and he has spoken through the players from of old. But, when the Son ascended, he gave full leadership of the team to the coach. The Spirit leads the Church. He teaches us how to play to the best of our abilities. He teaches us how to play as Jesus played – with love. If we play as Jesus played…if we play the game of life with love, we share in his victory. It is the greatest victory of all-time in the game of life.
Finally, the Son has one more role. He is the nourishment of the team through his Body and Blood. The Eucharist is our Gatorade! It nourishes us, refreshes us, and strengthens us as players so that we will play as Jesus played. We might look at Jesus in the tabernacle and think that his work is done…that he is resting after his victory on the field. He retired but his work is not done. He continues to work – feeding us and giving us strength in the Eucharist. If we play as Jesus played – if we live love – then we will share in his victory which is the greatest victory of all-time in the game of life.