San Francisco vs. Kansas City. Millions tuned in. Ads costing millions of dollars per minute. The Super Bowl is the epitome of a worldly sensation, but how does it stack up in terms of eternity?
While it’s probably true that God is not concerned with who wins, it is also certain that he does care about your party. That’s right. Wherever two or three or a dozen men are gathered … God is in their midst.
So let’s take a somewhat offbeat look at 10 ways your Super Bowl party supports Catholic values.
1. Eating and Drinking – What’s a Super Bowl party without plenty of food and drink? Catholics are not Puritans, and this is a secular feast day. Lent doesn't begin for another month, so it’s no time to abstain. We look to St. Paul, who told his disciple, “You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach” (1 Tm 5:23). Of course, a degree of moderation is in order, as well as designated drivers for any who overindulge.
2. Fraternity – An honored principle of the Knights of Columbus, fraternity is a lost art for many men. Yet our hearts are made for the fellowship and brotherhood that come with gathering around the game. Don’t feel guilty for having some “guy time” and be thankful that you have good friends. Make sure you build on that fraternity through your membership in the Knights.
3. Gathering – We Catholics are always getting together for something greater than ourselves: Mass, prayer, social action, social hours. True, a football party is not the same as gathering in the name of the Lord, but there is still great human value in men getting together to enjoy one another’s company and share a common experience.
4. Communion – The Mass is the highest celebration on earth, and we don’t suggest that a Super Bowl party in any way approaches holy Communion. But there are lesser communions of hearts and minds that God also blesses. It is up to us to see Jesus in others in any situation, even in those rooting and yelling at the TV.
5. Praising – A large part of the Super Bowl’s appeal is in watching two teams at the height of greatness battle it out with all their strength of body and soul. St. Paul recognized the unique relation between athletics and spirituality when he wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). We should esteem athletic efforts, praise these Super Bowl players and let their excellence lift our hearts and minds above the daily grind.
6. Arguing – Catholics don’t always agree, and some of our saints have raised argument to an art form. St. Thomas Aquinas spent much of his time setting forth the best arguments of his opponents and then knocking them down with a devastating rejoinder. You get the sense he sometimes enjoyed it. Of course, on faith and morals, Catholics follow the teachings of the Church, but on things like the Super Bowl, let’s jump and shout and support our team with gusto.
7. Patriotism – This is another principle of the Knights of Columbus that can apply loosely to rooting for your team. (Let’s be clear that patriotism does not necessarily mean backing the Patriots!) A football team is not a country, but our allegiance to a team’s city, history and players can be just as strong. When we yell, “Go team!” we are expressing the natural human virtue of love of place and people.
8. Winning – The Super Bowl is not like the league games our kids play. Everybody does not get a trophy. There’s a glorious winner and a downcast loser. And this is a great display to the world of the most natural, God-given instinct of man. We all want to win, that’s mainly why we play, and we need to be encouraged to pursue victory by all fair and honorable means.
9. Praying – Teams have chaplains for a reason. Coaches know that players are made of more than flesh and blood, and victory comes more from the spirit than the perfect practice. At your party, make time for a prayer, even a quick one, to set a tone that actually is not at all opposed to the spirit of the game.
10. Forgiving – Yes, we are human. If our team wins, we may need to apologize to our friends for rubbing it in. If our team loses, we may need forgiveness for playing the sore sport.
May the better team win!
Originally posted as an Online Members-exclusive on knights.net. Not yet a Knight? Learn more about joining online at kofc.org/joinus. Already a member? Learn more about the online membership initiative here.
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