Dear Parish Faithful,
The Super Bowl is over and is now history. May they rejoice in New York. May the lamentation in New England be short-lived. The game itself is very long, lasting over three hours usually, I believe. That is about as long, if not a bit longer, than our Paschal celebration, which I, in response to our secular society’s “Super Sunday,” like to call the real Super Sunday. However, what I find quite incredible is the “pre-game” programming. If I have this right, it started at 12:30 p.m., but the game began at 6:30 p.m. That means there were six hours of game preparation! What could possibly be discussed, analyzed, and commented on for six hours that was not already addressed in the two-week “pre-festal” preparatory period?! Did we learn what each player ate for breakfast on game day and then analyze the digestive pattern of each player from a scientific commentator?
The thought that came to me was this: If you are one of those who “tune in” early for the pre-game, I would ask: how early? Once that time period has been determined, I would suggest offering as much time to the “pre-service” reading of the Acts of the Apostles” before the actual paschal services begin this year. This reading goes on, at least theoretically (depending on how many readers sign up), for hours also. Different atmosphere, though. Reading the Holy Scriptures in a dark and quiet church is also something of a “warm up,” though not nearly as analytical as what you may hear on the television. As the Acts are Holy Scriptures, there are no superfluous words. No commercials either. The reading creates an atmosphere that prepares us for the explosive services to follow.
Or, you may want to consider the “warm up” on each and every Sunday – the Lord’s Day – since each and every Sunday is actually rather “super” for us as Christians. This warm-up is in the form of the third and sixth canonical Hours that are read before the Liturgy. This only lasts for twenty minutes. But the Hours also prepare us for the Liturgy to follow. The Hours and the Liturgy combined are not nearly as long as the Super Bowl game itself.
Just a thought generated on Super Bowl Sunday.