Sunday, February 28, 2021
Second Sunday of Lent
I hope that this week’s reflection is not too much of a stretch and is coherent. Please, bear with me.
Here at the end of February, our hometown Cincinnati Reds are in Spring Training in Goodyear, Arizona. Yes, the “boys of summer” have gathered once again to prepare for another, and hopefully, a great season. I love it! I am a “baseball romantic,” and this reflection will illustrate my thinking how I believe that baseball transcends our culture. Please give me some rope as I explain.
Baseball is the game of compromise. This year our Reds will win sixty games, loose sixty games, and God only knows how the other forty-two will turnout. That’s a lot of wins and losses. In a given week of six or seven games, a team will have a record that could be 5-2, 4-3, 3-4, 2-5, or better or worse. A baseball week is a mixed bag, a compromise of wins and losses. The author George Will refers to baseball as the “half loaf” game for this very reason.
Baseball’s 162-game schedule also makes it very clear who are the good teams and what teams are not successful in a given season. You cannot hide who you are in baseball during such a long grueling schedule. The truth prevails and there is no hiding behind a persona or façade. It all shows itself in broad daylight – or as the baseball schedule goes, by season’s end at the beginning of October.
Now for the fun part, let us tie this into our Lenten journey during this special liturgical season. Let’s talk about compromise and personas. These two areas could be reflections for Lenten conversion for us to consider.
In our very divided societal and political divide, how much are we willing to compromise? Are we willing to give a little and meet folks half-way? Or do we have the disposition of saying “my way or the highway?” Recently, I heard the term compromise defined as being “disappointed but yet pleased with the outcome” It is a tapestry of wins and losses. As children, our parents and teachers taught us to compromise with our friends and playmates. During this Lent, do we need to revisit this early lesson of life?
I think a very important question for us this Lent and best reviewed every Lent is “Am I being my true self ?” Am I who God is calling me to be or am I trying to be someone else that is not who God is asking me to be? Am I using my God-given talents to be the “light of Christ” I am supposed to be to all I encounter? Too often, we have our various personas and facades – our false selves to impress or hide who we really are. During this Lent, how can I strip these away and accept being the God-given gift to others I have been called and commissioned to be?
So, just maybe, some underlining messages of baseball can guide our Lenten journeys as we renew our lives and make our ongoing return to God. So, in closing, I invite us all to play ball!!!