Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Olympic Games
After 7 years of preparation the 2012 Olympic Games opened in London on Friday evening watched by a global TV. audience numbered in billions.
Over the next 16 days 10,500 athletes from all over the world, including 66 from Ireland, will participate in the world’s premier sporting festival.
Since they were revived in 1896 the motto of the Olympics has been “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.
Anyone who loves sport knows it is an art form and can teach us much about life. Most sports call for skill, discipline, imagination, creativity and are clearly vehicles of self-expression. Just think of these magical moments in swimming, boxing, cycling, basketball, football, rugby, tennis and the rest where humanity shines at its most beautiful and best. There will be many moments like these on display at the 2012 Games this summer.
Sport enables us to discover much about ourselves from reflection on our performances and the processes we go through when training. The love of sport discloses the spirituality of sport. As they train, and push themselves beyond their comfort zone on through that pain barrier, athletes realise they are in control of the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual dimensions of their lives.
Without self-control, sport, or life in general, ends in disaster. For the Physical, there is temperance; for Intellectual, prudence; for the Emotional, fortitude; and for the Spiritual, justice. Tasting success or learning from failure generates joy for everyone who accepts that God is an appreciative spectator of their life.
Sport imitates life’s vital processes. Many sports teach the importance of making fast decisions in complicated situations. Loss of temper is mostly costly. Concentration and attention are rewarded. Underestimating the opposition is often disastrous. Hard work and sustained commitment are rewarded.  Pushing on through pain, serving a team, facing defeat with dignity and never giving up are essential for success.
Experienced coaches who have faith remind those they train that they are more than what they do. They are children of God. Otherwise, once they  retire they can all too easily see themselves as without purpose and so become depressed. Through sport we may see humanity at its most sublime.
Sport seems to satisfy our yearning for spiritual communion between people from every part of our Earth.
 For those who love it,
Sport is JOY.
The simple Basic Things
O God,
Give me all the simple basic things
Which will make me a useful person in this world.
Help me to be;
So that people will be able to depend on me;
So that nothing I do may be less than my best;
So that I may not waste the time of others;
So that I may never let people down;
So that I may always think how my actions may affect others.
Help me to live in the constant awareness
Of your love for me, Amen.

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