Get in the Game: Football & Catholic Mass

Well, another new football season is upon us and it got me thinking about how the Catholic Mass can be a lot like a football game, if we look at it from a slightly “wider” perspective.


Stick with me, here:

Draft Choice – Where to sit in relation to the air conditioning or fan.

Rushing -Picking the shortest Mass, usually on a Saturday afternoon.

Endzone – Where we park our rears.

Cornerback  – Where too many Catholics sit…in the corner, in the back.

Safety – The stance some priests take when preaching.

Extra Point – The homily that just won’t end.

Draw Play – What many kids do during Mass.

Facemask – The look some wear on their faces. (C’mon, we’re all sinners, people!)

Timeout – When parents take children out of church for making too much noise.

Passing – Handing the collection basket to the person next to you.

Illegal Use of Hands – Taking money out of the collection basket.

Quarterback – People that try to make change for a dollar in the basket.

Holding – What sometimes happens during the Our Father.

Touchback – What we do during the sign of peace.

Forward Motion – How we go to communion.

Two Minute Warning – “Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.”

Blocking – When people stand at the exit, talking to the pastor at the door.

Running Back – What we do after Mass to catch the 1 p.m. kickoff.

At least, that’s the way this Catholic football fan sees things…

Player or Spectator?

Notice that at every Mass, you are not a fan but a player in the game. That’s what God is calling us to be in Mass and in life.

Consider this verse from 1 Thessalonians:

We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. –  1 Thessalonians 5:14

Here St. Paul reminds us that we are not meant to sit back and watch, but to be fully engaged and passionately active in our faith. We must cheer on our teammates in their faith journeys, not from the stands but from the playing field (Tweet this). The Mass bears with it the highest invitation to engage not only mentally, but physically, as well!

Our team is only as strong as our weakest player. Any good coach will remind us of that. Encourage your teammates who are in the stands of life to get in the game with you. God has a jersey (Sacraments) and playbook (Scripture) waiting for them.

And let’s not ever forget what play does every team call when they are desperate?

That’s right … the Hail Mary.

Do we get more “passionate” about our favorite team or sport than we do about our faith? Does your prayer life reflect that you are “in the game” and part of God’s team, daily, or has it fallen into more of a “spectator” status?

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Mark Hart

Mark Hart serves as Executive Vice President for Life Teen International. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a twenty-year veteran of youth ministry, Mark is a best-selling and award-winning author (or co-author) of over a dozen books and one of the most sought-after speakers serving in the Catholic Church, today. Mark hosts his own weekly satellite radio show, “Fired Up!”, for The Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129 and is a Research Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Additionally, his weekly audio podcast (Sunday, Sunday, Sunday) and HD video spots (Beyond Words) are helping youth groups, families and classrooms in over two dozen countries enter more deeply into the Sunday Mass readings. Mark’s humor and his passion for Scripture —as experienced in his DVD Bible Study Series, “T3” and “Encounter” — are helping hundreds of thousands of Catholics, young and old, begin to read and study the Bible in engaging and relevant ways. Mark and his wife, Melanie, and their children live in Phoenix, Arizona.

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