The Presentation and the Super Bowl
User's Guide to Sunday, Feb. 2
Sunday, Feb. 2, is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Year A, Cycle II).
On Monday, Feb. 3, the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Blaise. This is the day candles are used to bless the throats of the congregation. St. Blaise was a bishop and martyr. Traditionally, candles blessed on the feast of the Presentation, Candlemas, are used on the feast of St. Blaise.
Malachi 3:1-4, Psalms 24:7-10, Hebrews 2:14-18, Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22-32
The lessons we take from the Presentation Sunday Mass can be applied to the Super Bowl later that day.
Lesson 1: Present Jesus in the temple of your body. We hear in the Gospel that Mary and Joseph brought the Child Jesus to the Temple in accordance with the Law. This shows what good Jews they were: The Law and the Temple were the two pillars of the Jewish faith.
After Christ instituted the sacraments, the location of worship changed. It is no longer confined to one place, one temple: Now, it is everywhere — or, rather, anywhere the Christian worshipper happens to be.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?" says St. Paul. "Therefore, glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 4:4).
To present Jesus in the Temple today means to "glorify God in your body."
Watching the Super Bowl, we will watch athletes glorifying God by using their bodies in good competition. What we do with our bodies is not neutral; it defines us and expresses our relationship with God.
We are all called to glorify God in our bodies — by treating our bodies with purity, dignity and responsibility.
Lesson 2: God’s glory isn’t like the world’s glory. During the Super Bowl, we will see the best-of-the-best athletes in football facing off for the Vince Lombardi trophy. To get to the game, the teams had to endure years of continual training, months of punishing games and hours of pressure and focus.
For the players, the pain will last a lifetime; the title will last a year; life will go on, and the memory will fade. For the fans of the winning team, the moment of glory will be fleeting and will represent a small fraction of a lifetime rooting for the team. For the fans of the losing team, the loss will also be short-lived. There is always hope for next year.
Super Bowl glory is available only to a few, and it offers only a small withdrawal of glory after overwhelming years of deposits.
The glory God offers is not like that at all.
The Gospel tells the story of the huge withdrawal of grace Simeon received for his prayers.
"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word," he says, "for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people, Israel."
The glory Christ brings him is everlasting. His past sufferings fade into the background and become a memory. The glory Christ brings is an enormous payoff to a paltry deposit of patience.
As the Psalm puts it: "Who is the King of glory? It is the Lord!"
When we see him, he makes everything worthwhile. He is the greatest hope of all.
Tom and April Hoopes
write from Atchison,
Kansas, where Tom is
writer in residence at
- Jan. 26-Feb. 8, 2014