Of Easter and Baseball
Alleluia, He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia, alleluia!
What magnificent words those are! We labored through the dark and increasingly heavy days of Lent, culminating in Good Friday, surely the heaviest day of the entire Church calendar. And then the glory of Holy Easter erupted in joy and celebration. We got our alleluias back!
Every year I struggle with how to get my mind around the miracle of Easter and how to teach the faithful to comprehend this incredible event – the event that defines all history past and future. This year I spent much time in contemplation in my preparation of the Easter homily. I must tell you that the Holy Spirit has a great sense of humor when it comes to working with me. As I was lost in my musings, I recalled an experience of grade school that you may recall as well. All of us little boys were in a group on the playground and the Team Captains (in capital letters because that’s how we thought of them) began choosing players for their ball team. How they became (in capital letters) the Team Captains is a mystery to me. I guess they were better jocks, more popular, better looking….. who knows?
Anyway, do you remember standing there hoping you would be chosen. That, horror of horrors, you might be the last to be chosen? If you are last, you aren’t chosen – the Team Captain is stuck with you because nobody else wanted you. It is small wonder to me that we struggle with self-esteem, given such a wonderful introduction to the secular world’s notion of acceptance!
There is a saying I came across that says, “Things go from bad to worse, and then the cycle tends to repeat itself.” Well, standing on that playground is just the beginning. Next we go to high school and we worry about being accepted by our peer group. “Am I smart enough, am I attractive enough, am I good enough?” From there we go to dating. “Am I good looking enough, am I popular enough, am I good enough to attract a girlfriend/boyfriend?” Then the Junior/Senior prom – “Can I get a girl to say yes/will a boy ask me to the prom?”
Things go from bad to worse and then the cycle tends to repeat itself. Then we go to college – will I be accepted by the university I want to attend? Will I pass my courses? Will I get my degree? Will I find my life-mate? Will I get the job I applied for? Am I smart enough, attractive enough, popular enough, good enough?
It seems like this cycle never ends, and it reflects a basic reality of human existence – that we have a core need to be accepted, to be a part of the tribe, to belong. Ultimately, we have a need to be loved, and all of these anxieties are a reflection of the most basic of needs.
As Christians, having been cleansed by the waters of baptism, we no longer stand on that playground hoping to be chosen by the Team Captains. Through baptism, we have been chosen by the ultimate Team Captain to play on the winning team. We no longer have the anxiety of acceptance; of being smart enough, popular enough, attractive enough, enough, enough, enough… By His resurrection, Jesus Christ has said, “ENOUGH!” He is all sufficient – He has covered all of our sins, and He has chosen us to be on His team. We need never stand on that playground ever again. We are chosen because the Team Captain has chosen us, and He is enough!
Dearly beloved; Alleluia, He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!
God bless you,