Sunday in the Gym with God

I admit it. My mind wandered during liturgy this morning—the first 10:30 AM Mass in the Xavier High School gymnasium.

Being asked to stand in as a lector necessitated a seat change that meant I was facing the congregation. The congregation…and the scoreboard. Not in the least athletically inclined in a sport that ever uses one, I still understand its purpose in helping people make sense of what is happening in front of them.

It got me thinking. Was I “Home” or “Away?” An interesting question. I was away from an accustomed setting but home within the people and the ritual practiced. And, after all, we were only next-door. I decided I was part of the home team and began considering what that meant.

Usually, if there is a home team, there is also an away team. Who is on that team? Going back in memory to my own time spent in gymnasiums, I could imagine that the person who feels like she or he is on the away team is one who might be afraid he or she will not be chosen or will be selected last or asked to sit on the sidelines. And, sadly, experience might bear that out. The one on the away team might be someone I see every day who has never heard that there is such a place as Xavier where they can come as they are and worship God, whose measure for our lives is not tallied in fouls, per se, but rather what we did with our time on the court, what lessons we learned and how we used that knowledge for benefit.

But it isn’t a game at all, life. It is a serious undertaking with unpredictable outcomes and we need all the help we can get.

It then occurred to me that the scoreboard was wrong. For at least an hour on a Sunday morning, the board was wrong. Our faith teaches us that with God, there is no “Away.” There is only “Home.”

No athleticism required. Score-keeping unnecessary. Cheerleading helpful.

Welcome to the team.

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