the sacramental theology of superbowl LII

I put together a few talking points for my teammates who are preaching this weekend. At two of our masses, we’ll be gathering all of the families who are preparing with their children for first Eucharist. This year, our Faith Formation Director chose the Blessed series by Matthew Kelly as the family resource.

I have to say, Matthew Kelly has improved his content over the years. His feel-good, common sense, positive style is a much-needed breath of catechetical fresh air. He is the John-the-Baptist of the Catholic Joel and Victoria Osteen that our church urgently needs. There is a little disconnect between the fresh language of the main text, and the appended catechism in then end of the Blessed book, however I think it’s a wise way for this resource to gain approval among those who prefer a more rigid style of catechesis. In a revised edition, it would be great to have more discussion of the presence of Christ in the liturgical assembly,  although I certainly understand that this is an abstract concept that perhaps isn’t so easily captured in children’s terms. Maybe it’s not possible to articulate this in a family resource without teetering on ambiguity or heresy.  Either way, this is a book which models a positive, inspiring and friendly kind of catechesis. I am eager to see how the style of the Blessed series influences teaching, preaching and the practice of our faith in rising generations.

What follows is a synthesis of

  • Sunday’s scripture message
  • Objectives of first Eucharist prep, especially as underscored in Blessed
  • An upcoming event with particular significance in the land of Wawa & scrapple.

It’s not a homily, but rather, talking points which could be developed into an interesting discussion of the intersection of scripture, pastoral current events, and region excitement. The typical FontSound style, (often bereft with so many ten-dollar words I need to refinance my vocabulary,) has been modified to adopt the affirming & authentic voice with which my pastor so tenderly relates the Gospel to our young families.

Here is what I came up with. Fly, Eagles, fly.

Sunday, February 4, 2018. 

We are continuing a journey,
the way Jesus did in this coming Sunday’s Gospel.
Our journey started in baptism.

What are we watching later this week?
Any Eagles fans here?
What do we do when we are fans of a sports team?
We cheer for them, we encourage them.
We want them to play fair, and we want them to do their best.
We encourage them. We want them to be their best.
The community of fans wear team colors.
Fans are actually an essential part of the team,
even though they aren’t on the field.
We might even pray for the Eagles.

So, how many of you want to be like the Eagles?
How many of you want to make it to the Super Bowl?
Whether they win or lose,
you have to be pretty good to get to the Super Bowl,
don’t you think?
How do you think they got there?
Do you think they were born as great players?
No, they started out just like you and me,
and they grew, and practiced, and grew, and practiced.

Everyone has to start somewhere.
In our church, we start in baptism,
and as we grow and practice our faith,
we continue to experience God’s grace
in moments we call the sacraments.
In the sacrament of the Eucharist,
Jesus wants you keep growing
to be your best,
and to strengthen you with his own body and blood.
Jesus wants to encourage you
in a special experience of grace.

Today, we learn about with Simon’s mother-in law.
Jesus encouraged her to stand up.
She stood up, recovered her energy.
Then she continued to help Simon and his friends.
Jesus wants to teach you how to be a good friend to others.

God the Father sent Jesus
to show us just how much God the Father loves us.
When Jesus returned to the Father in heaven,
they sent the Spirit so that we might love one another more
and reveal God’s love to others.

God loves you so much
God wants you to be your best.
Your church community (parish)
is a place where you can shine.
Your parish is a team, and a team needs everyone
to give it their best shot.
Your parish needs your help
so that we can help others learn more
about just how much God loves them,
and just how much God wants them to be their best too!
God needs every parish in the world to be their best,
so that together we encourage every single person on earth to be their best.
Kinda like the Eagles and definitely
Just like Jesus.

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