This past Thursday was Major League Baseball’s long-awaited Opening Day. This past weekend continued the kickoff celebration of the baseball season throughout Opening Day Weekend. There is something different that makes Major League Baseball’s Opening Day stand out more than the other sports’ season kickoffs. What is it about this day/weekend that makes you feel so good inside? Is it just because it is America’s pastime, the smell of fresh cut grass, the beauty of a ballpark, or the itch to see your favorite team play again? Does it bring back those good ol’ memories of you as a kid playing baseball, softball, or t-ball? Whatever it is brings a smile and a lot of anticipation to people.
There are a lot of similarities between Lent and baseball. Both seasons begin at the same time. As we began the Lenten season, baseball was just about starting their Spring Training season. Spring Training is the time for baseball players to come back to the game they love and shake off the rust before the regular season starts. Likewise, we too try to shake off our rust during Lent, as Christians we prepare for Jesus’ resurrection while looking forward with hope and joy of what the Easter promise represents.
Our Lenten sacrifices, positive actions, almsgiving, and fasting make us more aware and mindful of God’s love for us and our love for Him. Our Lenten sacrifices will become gestures of emptiness if we are not mindful and present to what we are doing. This will cause us to lose sight of God’s love for us and our love for Him. It is this love that inspires our Lenten promises. Keeping that love at the center is possible if we are mindful to God’s presence.
Opening Day weekend has kicked off the baseball season with some thriller baseball games. Whether it be the first pitch, welcoming a new franchise player to the stadium, such as Bryce Harper, or the ringing of the bell and sounds of fireworks, I am sure many will take out their smart phones to capture A MOMENT. Yes, it is great to CAPTURE these moments but, are we really being IN THE MOMENT? Are we being intentional with our actions? Instead, the next time you feel the urge that you “have to” capture that moment digitally, think twice about taking out your smart phones and instead capture that moment mentally and spiritually. Even as athletes, we sometimes forget to recognize what is truly present in front of us. We need to be more intentional, mindful and aware of God’s presence in those experiences. Set time aside to be truly present in the moment and embrace that moment with God!