Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.


Feast of the Holy Pig Skin

Are you celebrate the feast of the Holy Pig Skin?  It’s today, February 6. Americans in particular, and devotees from all over the world will come together, hundreds of millions of us, gathered around our sacred electronic altars.

Some will be privileged to witness the holy ritual in person, having made the long pilgrimage to Arlington Texas, along with 45,000 other disciples, for a sacred offering of only $350.

Unless they got it on e-bay.

But even those of us not so devoted will still join in communion together, sharing a meal of corn-dogs, Doritos, and Bud Light, dressed to match the vestments of our favorite heroes, as they battle their foes in holy war, honoring Hercules and Mars, gods of strength and agility and victory, and fate.

You know what I’m talking about right?  The Superbowl of course.

But it’s not a ritual – it’s a football game!

Oh really? Sure looks like a religious ceremony to me – people coming from all over everywhere in pilgrimage, weird clothes, face-paint and costumes, ritual meals, chanting, cheering, WORSHIPPING.

And the battle isn’t a real one either; they’re liturgical movements, re-enactments, PLAYS – that if they get right, will lead their teams to victory.

Sure, the Superbowl is as significant in lives of North Americans as a religious feast day – maybe MORE to some people.

Not that the Superbowl is a bad thing in and of itself – I don’t think so anyway.  Nothing wrong with getting caught up in the excitement, with family and friends to experience as a community.  I can’t think of anything that can bring strangers together than their winning team’s victory.

It does a lot of things that Church is supposed to do.

And there are even important life lessons that we can learn – they are often NOT learned, but we CAN learn them – things like: usually superior skill and ability and even a PERFECT SEASON lead to victory, but not always, because luck also plays a role – or denying oneself for the sake of a team makes one a hero – or, who doesn’t love an underdog.

Father Michael Troy, God rest his soul, was inspired by sports in more sermons than one can count.

So hey, the Superbowl is awesome.  Let’s celebrate it, right?  Nothing wrong with it, right?

Well, nothing wrong with it, so long as the Superbowl, or any SPORTS related activity for that matter, doesn’t become MORE important to us than GOD.

Then we’re talking about a violation of Commandment Number 1.

And the reason isn’t that God will be angry – although he probably will. The REAL reason is that NOTHING can do what God can do.  Nothing can lead us to truth like God can.  Joe Montana didn't give his life for us. Vince Lombardi didn't create us. Troy Palumalu can't feed us with his own body and blood - although he does have nice hair. Nothing can give us strength, make us happy, fulfill our lives like God can.

Not the Superbowl.  For all the glitz and glamour and money spent on the Superbowl, how good is the game itself usually.  More often than not, the game is not exciting at all – it’s a blow-out.  It doesn’t live up to the expectation we put on it.

And neither will ANYTHING that takes the place of God in our lives – we call those IDOLS – whether they be statues of Zeus or Ra or Jo-boo – or Britney Spears or Mel Gibson or Barack Obama, or Disneyland or Facebook or the Dow Jones Stock Exchange, or the Superbowl.