For many, sports is their religion. Interestingly, St. Paul used sports analogies when talking about religion. More in a moment. In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus talks about how easy it is for us to point out the sins in others without recognizing our own faults and failings. “You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
The spiritual life is very much like the life of an athlete. Athletes train; they practice their sport day in and day out to become the best they can be, and remain sharp. In the first reading today from 1 Corinthians 9, St. Paul says, “Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.” Athletes know that practice makes perfect.
This same principle applies to the spiritual life. If we don’t practice our faith – through prayer, charity, fasting, learning – we won’t make any progress. We won’t become all that God desires us to become. Why settle for second? When it comes to that imperishable crown, we should be in it to win it!
Father, give us the determination to practice our faith – to be the best that we can be. Amen.