July 14, 2014
The many cartoons I saw and comments I heard regarding the World Cup were too much for me not to comment! My favorite is the picture of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict, where the caption is, “So, shall we cancel Mass this Sunday?”
Now, I do not follow sports. I remember the amusement or often frustration of my family as I carried a book with me to Dodger games so I had something to read during the “boring moments”. I never played sports; my lack of coordination made it impossible and I would rather sit on the sidelines.
It was almost impossible to ignore the sports talk around me the last few months, though, and I marvel that sports are indeed a big part of our culture. The World Cup, the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series…the list could go on. But how do they affect our spiritual journey?
If you follow the Holy Father on Twitter, you might have been happy to see the entry for Friday, “The World Cup allowed people from different countries and religions to come together. May sport always promote the culture of encounter.”
I absolutely loved this statement as it shows the Church not shying away from events in popular culture, but rather finding the God moments within it! The idea of a “culture of encounter” is one familiar to anyone who has read Evangelii Gaudium and most anything that Pope Francis has written. There is a strong emphasis on the connection to people, the face to face communication of people in the Church as being such a predominant part of our ministry together. Christ himself always met people where they were, face to face, and make each encounter count!
How wonderful if we could ourselves do that in every aspect of our lives! Taking something like the World Cup and rather than focus on the rivalry, we can use it as a way to enhance our knowledge and communion with other cultures. What a wonderful experience of joy that would be!
Our challenge is to make each moment of our lives an evangelizing moment, where what we say, what we do and how we react all flow from our faith journey and imitate the ways of Christ. Every argument becomes an opportunity for healing; every encounter becomes a treasured moment.