Team Jesus, By Jan Pepino, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User Dejan Krsmanovic

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Game point. Crossover. My sneakers squeaked as I stepped back and took the shot. My form felt perfect. The backspin was just right. The ball flies through the hoop and the sound of the net echoed my win throughout the entire gym. My friend, jersey drenched in sweat and determination in his heart, said “Run it back.” So, we played another game.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t this dramatic, but I remember very clearly how it was like to have my best friend push me to become a better player at every practice and game.  

Basketball was the first team sport I played in 8th grade. Before I joined the team, I knew little about the sport. I’ve only heard about how it’s like to play in an official game. I heard stories from my friend about how great basketball was, but it wasn’t until I played in a team with him that I started to realize there was so much more to experience and learn.

In this week’s gospel, we read about Jesus teaching his disciples that hearing about something is completely different from living and experiencing the real thing. You’ve probably heard of the commandment that tells us not to kill. At first glance, it seems easy to live this out. It turns out though that there’s more to this than meets the eye. More than just not committing murder, Jesus enlightens us that this also has to do with anger and holding grudges. He also said that we should settle our problems with whoever we’re “beefing” with before coming before the altar, a.k.a attending mass. He teaches us the importance of forgiveness and the value of mending relationships.

In another instance, we hear about Him teaching that adultery is more than just having a physical relationship with another woman. That if we lustfully look at someone who we’re not married to, this is the same as committing adultery in our hearts. He even goes to say that if our right eye causes us to sin, to tear it out and throw it away. It seems a bit extreme at first, but He’s really calling us to throw away anything that tempts and leads us to sin.

Lastly, He calls us to a life of commitment. When Jesus said, “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’,” He is asking us to not only believe in our faith, but also to live it. To become better disciples of Christ, we need to push ourselves to be moved to action. Let’s encourage each other to not just learn about what God wants us to do, but to really apply his teachings of forgiveness and love in our daily lives.

Jesus is on our team. He’s the one the pushes us to greater heights by teaching us how to live out the commandments that we’ve heard about. In the same way my friend taught me the ins and outs of basketball, Jesus has taught me how to live a more fulfilling life and become a better person. After all, who better to have on your team than the one who created and loves us the most.

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