Isn’t it great? The sun is out. The birds are chirping. You can smell brats and burgers grilling in the neighborhood. School is just about wrapped up. Life is good. You know what makes all of this better? Baseball. Baseball is back. My Brewers are currently on a long winning streak and the Cubs are losing, so life is good. And to top THAT, it’s Easter season.
Wait. What’s that you say? Easter? I thought Easter ended on March 31st!
While most celebrate only on Easter Sunday, the celebration continues for 7 weeks! Crazy, right! I love the Easter season, partially because it overlaps with baseball season. It’s when I can finally start drinking soda again, which I gave up for Lent. But now that Lent and Easter are “over,” what now? What do we do? Does sacrifice end? The answer? No.
I’m going to explain this metaphorically with my #4 love: baseball (It trails God, Family, and Friends). Think of the Lenten season as spring training. All the baseball players (Catholics) come together on the first day (Ash Wednesday) to talk about goals and what they’re going to work on (Lenten sacrifice). Some players have really developed their power over the seasons, but they need to work on their fielding. As a result, they make that their priority for spring training. We Catholics do the same. We work on becoming better Catholics in Lent. We find a sacrifice or something we want to do better, and through our actions, we grow in our relationship with Christ, just as ‘ball players are working on becoming better players.
So, spring training goes on, and the players are working on getting better at their position. They play exhibition games and work extra hours in the cages or on the field. Opening Day is right around the corner.
Opening Day, metaphorically, can be considered Easter Sunday. The energy is high. Everyone wants to look his or her best. Everything they’ve been working on can now be applied into the game. It is a time of joy. The game is over and the energy is still high, regardless of a win or a loss. But now what? Well. The season goes on.
Baseball players don’t prepare for one game. They prepare for 162 games (even more if their team makes it to October). We Catholics shouldn’t just prepare for one day of Easter. Our sacrifice and growth with God applies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Now, I’m not saying that you can never eat chocolate or drink a soda EVER again. That’s not my point. My point is that our energy on Easter (Opening Day) should go on for, well, ever! We should continuously have the urge to become better Catholics. Lent is a great reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. But should our sacrifice to him only last 40 days? Or should they last 365 days?
So. There you have it. I’ve just compared the best sport to the best religion. Sacrifice and growth. It shouldn’t be restricted to 40 days, because God doesn’t love us for only 40 days. He loves us everyday. Love. Love Christ everyday. Show him that Lenten spirit everyday of the year. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe it’s reading a bible passage everyday, or making sure to get your daily prayer in. Because just like baseball players, we don’t celebrate our team for one day. We celebrate our faith everyday.
John Christianson is"just a simple guy with a simple name and not-so-simple thoughts." He Loves God, Baseball, and going to Disney with his family. He currently is a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Happy Easter! While many of you may have started to take down the Easter decorations or consumed most of the candy left for you, the Church continues to celebrate Easter for 50 days past Easter Sunday. Why is this?
This is because in scripture we learn that Jesus spent the 50 days after HIS resurrection from the dead appearing to his followers. He used this time to show them the fullness of HIS teachings in light of HIS death and Resurrection.
My favorite example of this is Jesus' appearance to the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35). Jesus walks with two of his followers (without them recognizing him) and they discuss Jesus' life, teachings, and death. They share a meal and it is when Jesus blesses and breaks the bread they realize it's Jesus right as he disappears. They turn to one another and said, "Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of my favorites, for it really illustrates God’s love for us. At the beginning of today’s Gospel The High Priests are questioning Jesus how we can honor the outcasts of society (the tax collectors and prostitutes) by inviting them to dine with him. So Jesus tells them the Parable of the Prodigal Son. How often are we like that younger son? We think we know what is best for us, and try to control our own fate. How often do we forget about the amazing gifts and talents we have been given, and how easily we squander it on material goods and temporal pleasures? How much time do we spend, living in the filth, the mud, with our poor choices and sins before we decide to get up and go back to our father. I will be the first to admit that I struggle with going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It takes a lot for me to swallow my pride and tell another person all my faults.
I tense up at the thought of New Year’s resolutions. Every year I begin with such hope and determination that this New Year will be different and better for those intentions to fall by the wayside by the end of January. Goals to lose weight, save more money, be more social, drink less soda, quickly fade into my old habits of last year and years before.
That’s when I decided to try something new. As you see it’s February and I am now thinking about New Year resolutions. Ok, fine I have been since December – but January becomes a time to relax after the hectic holidays and get back into the swing of my normal routine – why try to add something new to the mix right away? Thus I am writing a blog in late January about resolutions. The other problem is trying to do too many things to change at once. Last year I made one goal in December – stop focusing on trying to date and just enjoy the friendships I have and develop new friendships. I knew that everything else I hoped for: lose weight, watch less TV, save money – would somehow relate to that. And I was right! But that’s a blog for another day.
Like many of you I can get so busy with work I neglect to take time to focus on my spirituality. Yes even those working for the church struggle with finding time to focus on our own spirituality instead of others spirituality all the time. So here are three spiritual resolutions I am holding myself to and hopefully you choose to do them in a way that works for you:
By: Samantha Luedtke
Something was said last night during the announcements at Mass. Did you catch it?
"Mass times for the Solemnity of All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation, will be at..."
I don't know about you, but I tend to zone out during announcements. And, if that's the case, you probably didn't catch that you need to, to the best of your ability, make it to Mass tomorrow.
"Mass on a Tuesday!?" you ask. "And by the way Sam, what the heck is a Holy Day of Obligation?"
By: Nicole Fastabend
Stop and think for a moment about all of the things and people that you have to “take care of” on any given day. Children, parents, spouses, friends, the stack of papers on your desk at work, laundry, grocery shopping, getting the car fixed. The list can become exceedingly long. How many of you include yourself on that list? Or better yet, how many of you include your faith life? I’m not usually a betting girl, but I’d be willing to bet, not many.
To be honest, even though I work for the church and consider myself a spiritual person, it wasn’t the first thing on my “list.” So, when I came across the Theology-on-Tap schedule for this summer, I told myself it was OK to be a little selfish. In fact, it’s important!
By: Amy E. Taylor
Let’s face it: these days, it’s tough to be Catholic. Friends, family, even the media can make you feel as though you’re alone in the faith you profess. However, although being a Catholic at any age can be a tough life, in today’s secular society, young people still choose to follow their faith regardless of the roadblocks they might encounter.
“I think the hardest part about being a young adult Catholic is remembering that God is with you all the time,” wrote Kerri Duerwachter in an email interview with MyFaith. “We all go through tough times throughout these years and it’s really easy to forget that he’s there for the good and the bad.”
The 22-year-old graphic designer, a member of St. Charles, Hartland, has come up with various ways to stay close to her Catholic faith, despite what she hears from negative outside sources.
By: Andrew Schueller
Today is Ash Wednesday and millions of Catholics are heading to Mass. Such an amazing thing! I am sure the news will run some report about why all these crazy people are walking around with ashes on our foreheads, ensuring the public that we Catholics did shower today. Even Catholics who come to mass only once in awhile, show up to Ash Wednesday because it is our obligation on this Holy Day!
Right now some of you are in full agreement of what I have just said, and some of you are ready to post a reply of an error you have already found in my above paragraph. To many people's surprise Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation! I can't help myself to think of all the people who flood churches today thinking they have to! In fact the parish I work at has gotten a few calls from people wondering what time they could come and get ashes (not when our your masses today). People come to Ash Wednesday just to get marked on their forehead that they are Catholic, for the entire world to know.