Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Samuel 17:32-33.37.40-51; Mark 3:1-6)

Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow corralled world-wide attention over the past few weeks. Through the power of mass media, the story of this faith-inspired athlete captured the imaginations of housewives in Australia as well as football junkies in the U.S. The explanation for the phenomenon relates to the first reading today. Tim Tebow appears as a David going against bigger, stronger teams. The Broncos’ defeat last Saturday will not entirely disillusion his legion of followers. Rather they will sing of his accomplishments as a humanitarian off the field. Many will also give thanks to God for having given them a model to be followed.

However strong or crafty David appears in the Scripture, his story is to be read as a testimony of God’s love for His people. God goes before David just as Goliath’s shield bearer goes before the colossal Philistine. In the gospel Jesus will say that with faith a man or woman can move a mountain. The same symbiosis of faith and the favor of God easily cuts Goliath down to size.

We wonder whether God cares about football games as much as the fans praying that their team scores enough points to win. One theologian argues that God does not care about the outcome but does care about all the players on the field and the fans in the stands behind them. Using that logic, we might conclude that since everyone is affected by the score, God has to care about it as well. Although how the tally serves God’s purposes may be regarded as part of the mystery beyond human understanding, we should look for Him in the game. Paradoxically with how brutal professional football has become, we might find God calling for a stop to it.