Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I realize that for most people reading CRM this means nothing, but for Kate in Geneva and I, this is a major reason to celebrate. Everton FC clinched a berth next year in the Champions League, and more importantly they beat out their archrivals, Liverpool. My grandfather played on one of the youth Everton teams in the 1920s. Historically, Everton Football Club (soccer for Americans) was the FC for Catholics, since Liverpool FC, which was literally across the park (now they have a new stadium I understand) would not allow Catholics. It is difficult for me, here in the US, to follow the Toffees, but I do, and I love the way the leagues are set up there in European Football. Not only do teams compete to win their conference, but they are compete to avoid "RELEGATION" -- that is the bottom teams are sent down to the lower division while the winners of the lower division moves up.

I, bizarrely, see an important faith lesson in this. In the US sports, the focus is always just on winning the championship, and certainly we should keep our eyes on that goal, of doing our best. Similarly we should keep our eyes on our true, eternal goal -- Heaven. However, in the US there is little real concern or attention given to the "ceiler dwellers", as if there is no consequence to doing poorly. Similarly, here in the US there seems to only be a discussion of Heaven, most wakes and funerals seem to "canonize" the deceased, and almost presume that they are in heaven. One priest I know was "progressive" because he reminded people that Heaven was not the only place we might end up, saying that there is Purgatory. While this is "progress," we must also remember that Hell exists and it is a real possibility for those who live a life opposed to God. Hell is the ULTIMATE Relegation because there is no "next season" to win the division to get promoted up.

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