Posts Tagged ‘Jesus and the Super Bowl’

Super Bowls can be decided by a penalty flag. Most athletes, staff and fans gulp when one is thrown and for good reason. It could signal more than an infraction. It could portend the end of a drive, momentum, or worse yet, the game.

Some penalties are more or less slaps on the hand. Illegal motion might not set you back five yards. But a a long pass interference call could be crushing.

Recently, I’ve had some flags thrown on me in the personal realm. I thought they were indeed nixing some momentum and were interfering with my game plan. I thought my “opponent” was getting away with some things. I thought the Man In Stripes upstairs had missed the calls. As I reviewed the game’s video, I realized that He had a better pair of eyeballs than I had credited him with especially after I noticed that He winked at me for reviewing His call.

He’s the kind of ref that pats your pads, whispers something in your ears that no one in the stadium can hear and ends the admonition with a sincere, “Son.”

You walk away from the play feeling bad until you realize he slowed you down just enough to get your attention so as to stop you from repeating that error.

I used to dread spiritual conviction and contrition growing up in the Roman Catholic faith. For those who are not familiar with the utter nakedness of the confessional, it went something like this. Once a week or so, I would timidly walk up to a doorknob, twist it slowly and twist it back even more cautiously to make sure no one could see in or overhear my darkest sins. It’s similar to going to the bathroom. You kind of deadbolt yourself in.

As an emerging pubescent, I once confessed some “dirty thoughts” to the priest knowing for sure that sexual thoughts all carried a “10” on the wickedness scale. I imagined the gallows outside of St. Joseph’s Parish. 

But the priest, whom I’m sure knew who he was listening to, didn’t exactly slam the flag to the ground. My gulp was replaced by the biggest sigh of relief that a dirty adolescent sinner could exhale when I heard his verdict: “Son, think of something like the New York Mets baseball team.” As an ardent fan of the club, I knew it was only a five-yarder because it could have been an admonition to think on my arch-rival Yankees! 

When Jesus throws a penalty flag, it could cost us a game-winning drive or an angry stare from our coach. But our infractions cost Him everything, and with a little game-changing repentance and a pat on the pads, we can move on to the next game. That’s super news.



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