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Christmas season is now over

刊登日期: 2014.01.19
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

We return to the ordinary life with the warm glow of the Christ child fresh in our minds. 

Maybe not. 

In the United States we are still carrying on the fever pitch of the football season. The university-level national championship game is over. (At the time of this writing, the game has yet to be played on January 6, 2014 between Florida State University and Auburn University in Pasadena, California.) But the professional level championship game is yet to come on February 2, 2014. In the mean time basketball season is in full swing with the finals coming in April for the Universities while the professional games will last into June. Track and baseball season will begin when weather warms up for the outdoor events while indoor sports continue on. 

In the United States sports have become not only an entertainment, but practically a religion. On any given weekend, more people will attend sport events than attend church services. More money is spent at those outings than put into contributions for worthwhile charities. 

Do not get me wrong. I am a big sports fan. I enjoy good honest competition. I may even say that sports participation does more good for young people than with any other activity they may be involved. There are many virtues a young person may acquire: sportsmanship, self-discipline, teamwork, focus, developing physical and mental skills, etc. Even St. Paul used running a race to compare to our striving for excellence in our life of faith. 

One trouble I have, as a pastor, is that in recent years we have witnessed the inordinate rise in salaries of professional athletes that distorts the value of sports. Yet, because fans are willing to pay the price to be entertained, the market sustains the level of expenditure, even while the nation is experiencing a financial downturn. I wonder sometimes where our values have gone. 

I bring this topic up at this writing because this Sunday the responsorial psalm says, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” I sometimes wonder if my parishioners think about what it is to do God’s will on a day-to-day basis. It seems to me that when we lose sight of God in a real way, the Truth is no longer in focus. Our values get distorted. Our priorities are confused. 

Sports by themselves are not immoral. But an inordinate emphasis is. So it is with any other hobby, entertainment or even work. Morality is not just about doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. It is much more than that. It is about building a healthy relationship with our God and those around us. Indeed, Jesus said, “Love God with your whole heart, whole soul and whole mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” The golden rule elevates our decision-making to include refraining from doing good that is simply not good enough to be consider as a loving thing. Out of love, we may have to avoid doing something good if it leads someone to sin. (1 Cor. 8:8, 13) 

The phenomenon in the United States is, of course, not limited to them alone. It is easy to see the excesses of others while overlooking the excesses of our own. That is the predicament of Original Sin. The devil particularly likes to help us see clearly the faults of others so that we could not see the faults of our own. 

 

Question: What are some excesses of yours that God would like you to notice and restore to proper priorities in your life? 

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