I saw this clever play on the Super Bowl- "the Superb Owl"- on Facebook and I prefer owls to football, so I thought I'd address Super Bowl Sunday in this way :)
Plus, birds- and owls in particular- are ALL the rage these days. Also, mustaches. That may seem like an aside, but they are both very much related and both very much hipster. I should know, since I have hipster tendencies myself.
Let it be known, however, that this blog had a bird background well before this trend, true to my hipster tendency form. ( This is an aside and a beloved joke between my friend @ChristineMarieN and I: "Why did the hipster burn his tongue?" "He ate pizza before it was cool ;) My blog's bird background was simply a sick homage to my Twitter obsession, but now it is widely known that if you want something to seem cool and infinitely more expensive, simply "Put a Bird on It".
While I do care to keep up with pop trends, I don't care much for professional sports, I must say. But I get that people uphold these athletes and teams in the same way my family might uphold Rock and Roll or the Beatles. And I do think there is something about it that brings humanity together and we should honor those who reach high achievements... I get it.
I, however, also taught an excerpt from Gaudium et Spes (The Second Vatican Council document on The Church in the Modern World) and had my students reflect on a few paragraphs including this passage:
"But what is man? About himself he has expressed, and continues to express, many divergent and even contradictory opinions. In these he often exalts himself as the absolute measure of all things or debases himself to the point of despair. The result is doubt and anxiety." - The Church in the Modern World, 12.
I had the students reflect on how we exalt certain celebrities or athletes and then how that can lead to our own "debasement" of ourselves. We go to the two extremes- either wanting to exalt ourselves or not realizing our self worth.
St. Paul, however, has something for us again today in this morning's readings:
Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!...
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it. - 1 Corinthians 9: 16-23