By Sister Elise Cholewinski
We live in an age of entitlement. If you've been working very hard at your job, you're entitled to time off. If you've shown up for every soccer practice, you're entitled to play first-string in the game. If you can catch a football, you're entitled to a several million-dollar contract.
Today's Gospel speaks about entitlement. To what is Caesar entitled? To what is God entitled? The Pharisees pose a dilemma for Jesus, but He answers by saying, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." So what belongs to God?
One thing that belongs to God is the Sabbath. So often we tell young people that there are 168 hours in a week, so we ought to give God at least one hour by attending Mass. God is not entitled to one hour of worship; God is entitled to the entire Sabbath Day.
In a culture where sports occupy so much of people's time on Sunday, it is a challenge to know how to give the whole day to God. Maybe the solution lies not in separating our worship from our enjoyable recreational activity, but rather in allowing God, the Story, and the living of our faith to become an integral part of our Sunday recreation. For starters, how about spending post-game time discussing the relationship between the game and the Paschal Mystery? Or why not compare the rituals and "ministers" at a ball game to the rituals and ministers that are part of the Mass?
In what ways can we creatively make every part of the Sabbath a God experience?
Thank you, Sr. Elise, for providing a balancing and prioritizing reflection in our highly sport focused culture. I enjoy sports - but God is most important.
Dear Sr. Elise,
Your reflection is very thought-provoking and heart-stimulating. I appreciate the concept of "entitlement" and know that I often feel "entitled" to things - a good parking space, front row seating, etc.
Fr. Phil mentioned in his homily that not only is the Sabbath for God but so is the entire week - every hour of every day. That caught my attention!
May you have a "Holy Week."