Super Bowl Sunday
In an ever more secular society, the events of this Sunday seem to surpass in importance other really more important Sundays like Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
In much earlier times, in our Christian cultures the cathedrals (and other churches) of the city were typically the largest and most magnificent buildings in tribute to Almighty God. What are usually the largest buildings in our cities today? They are our sports stadiums. Unfortunately, in our day for many people they have become the new cathedrals. What are they a tribute to other than ourselves?
Sports figures are often held up as people to emulate and honor. It seems to me that the martyrs and saints (and I don’t mean those guys from New Orleans!) held this position of esteem at one time.
People will pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket to view the Super Bowl live. Thousands of dollars are spent in Super Bowl weekend packages. Advertisers are willing to pay millions of dollars for 15 seconds of commercial notoriety. And that poor old George Washington or Abraham Lincoln bill in our collection baskets is perhaps seen as adequate to support the local church and its activities—if the people go to church and give at all.
We gather together with family and friends to share pizza, wings, sandwiches, sodas and different types and strengths of “joy juice.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the same enthusiasm and participation when it comes to gathering around the table of the Lord to share the Bread of Life and the Cup of Eternal Salvation?
I would hate to be seen as a kill-joy, party pooper or spoilsport (no pun intended), but does it not seem that our priorities are out of whack? We live for today, for the moment. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Did the Epicureans have it right? They propounded an ethic of individual pleasure as the sole or chief good in life.
Whether you root for those guys from Denver or the ones from Carolina (or couldn’t care less since your team is out of it), people throughout the world are fixated for a few hours on a game.
I think that if Christ were to decide to return to earth during this game, some people would ask him to wait at least until the halftime entertainment is over.
What a world we live in!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
(updated for 2016)