HOMILY
THE SUPER BOWL

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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The Super Bowl is the 21st century version of the quest for the Holy Grail – the Super Bowl Ring. For these Knights of the Gridiron, the quest for that Ring started years ago on the little league, high school and college teams. Some have even taken drugs to enhance their performance.

The final preparation began in earnest some seven months ago when they left home to go to the various training camps. There under the merciless July sun, they gathered together two or three times a day to sweat off some pounds, pump some iron, run till they were sick and blocked and tackled until twisted knees, sprained ankles, broken ribs, pulled hamstrings, wrenched backs or sheer exhaustion stopped them. Then in the evening they assembled again to study the play books and watch films of previous games. St. Paul, evidently acquainted with the Olympiads of his day writes, “Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown but we an imperishable one.” (1 Cor.9:25)

What he is saying is that the need for discipline is built into human nature. We do not have integrity. The higher faculties do not have complete control of our lower faculties. There is the law of the body warring against the law of the mind. We do not have it all together. Each faculty goes out after its own proper object heedless of the others. “The good I will I do not, the evil I will not that I do.” We are spiritual animals, we are proud as devils and act like jackasses.

We need discipline also because we are social beings. We live together in society. No one lives alone. Assisted living is not only necessary at the beginning and end of life but throughout the whole of life. We indentify our selves, grow and mature through our relationship with others. And the more people live together in society the more there is friction and frustration and the more need for discipline. Discipline is what we need most, and what we want least. We prefer to pamper our selves. The media knows this, so under the guise of alleviating needs they create new ones.

When you watch the Super Bowl Game Sunday you will spend 4 to 5 hours watching a 60 minute game. (It has been estimated that there is only about 12 minutes of actual playing time) In fact, you will see many more commercials than you will see football. Those commercials featuring pizzas, beer, cars, insurance and erectile dysfunction cost millions of dollars for a mere thirty seconds. And these national companies know that it is worth it. These commercial are all saying to us Couch Potatoes, “Pamper your self! Live it up! Enjoy life as those young happy people you see in the commercials!”

Pleasure, of course, is an indispensable element in human life. We cannot live without pleasure. God put pleasure in the use of things to get us to use them. But unbridled, undisciplined pleasure seeking is self destructive. We can eat, drink or work ourselves to death. Obesity today is a serious national problem. As Orson Wells once said, “One third of what I eat keeps me alive. The other two thirds keeps the doctors alive.” But there’s the kickoff! “Eat, drink and be merry!"


 

© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved