"YOU Make the Call!"

OK, it's time to prepare for the Super Bowl. As I suggested here before I departed for the NFC Championship Game in Chicago, I'm looking for some help with the homily in Dallas two weeks out. Do you have any ideas of what should be proclaimed?

At that Mass on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Packers will hear the same readings that will be proclaimed in all Catholic churches throughout the world. Naturally, the homily needs to reflect the readings of the day and address the situation in which the Packers find themselves -- at least that is my homiletic style.

If you would be so moved, please take a look at the readings for February 6th and contemplate how such spiritual direction could possibly influence the homily. (I believe that the readings are quite provocative for the setting in which the Packers are finding themselves.) You will notice that you can offer any sort of comment below (if I changed the privacy settings correctly), so feel free to use your thoughts and prayers, challenges and affirmations to inspire the Green and Gold on to victory. Thanks for your consideration; let's see what happens... ... ...

The following link will lead you to Super Bowl Sunday's readings courtesy of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops:



A Lutheran Friend said...

Here is my suggestion:

Unity would be a good theme for the team. Like we are all united in Christ, we are united with the team. Whether we are Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, etc., we, as fans, coaches, and players are unified in our faith in the Packers. Likewise, we are unified in our Christian faith. We may have different traditions, we may have some different beliefs, but we all recognize the trinity and the sacrifice of Christ, and in the light of that truth, we are part of the higher Christian church.

As it says in the Isaiah passage:

"If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday."

Take away our false accusations, malicious speech, and differences with each other, we are all children of God and because of that and our unified belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are guaranteed our place in paradise. Likewise, though there are many differences amongst the players, it is the colors that they wear, and the team they represent that bring them together.

The Gospel reading recognizes us as "the salt of the earth". The reading recognizes us as a city on a mountain that cannot be hidden. The reading recognizes us as the light of the world. However, it says that the light must be made so that it will shine on all. Matthew writes in his Gospel about how a house divided cannot stand, well how would work for a city? Surely, a divided city, plagued with oppression and malicious speech amongst its citizens will fall in darkness and be hidden. And, as salt with no taste, what good are we? It is only through a united front that we as Christians can be that light to the world, it is only united that we can be a shining city that cannot be hidden, it is only united that we will not loose of flavor. And, it is only united that the Packers will go forth and be victorious.

History shows us that Christianity has been able to survive and persevere through the constant trials of the ages, not because of its wealth, not because of its earthly leaders, but because of its unification in Jesus Christ. Likewise, only unified will the Packers be able to persevere through this one last trial, only unified will they be able to claim victory, and only unified can the bring the Lombardi trophy home.

The Packers are a team of members from different faiths, different regions, and different beliefs. BUT, they are unified as Packers, and with their differences set aside they will triumph over their upcoming challenge.

Anonymous said...





Lisa Ortscheid said...

You are doing fine so far & always do... you don't need any suggestions. You're awesome Jim!

with_prayers said...

wow! the readings for that sunday are pretty strong! i believe that the gospel can be related to their gifts and talents that the Lord has given them. while they do not want to lose flavor or hide their talents under a basket, they must recognize who their gifts come from and give all glory and honor to God. the second reading does a nice job in saying that their strength is not their own, but comes from God.

the first reading might be a good chance to call them out on their status in society. they have wealth and strength and are looked up to. they must be an example of reaching out to the people of God by sharing with those in need. what good is their fame and wealth if they do not use it to take care of others? their true treasure must be in Heaven and not in what they have here on earth.

i'm sure you already noticed and thought of these things. and i am confident that your homily will be strong and meaningful as it always is.

Peace and Prayers! Go Pack Go!

Kate Strasser-Rader said...

Homily thoughts: For many this will be the pinnacle of their career arriving at “Jerry’s Big House.” Bask in this glory for you have earned it but, now use your talents to prepare yourself and others to light the way and earn the true pinnacle of your personal life – a place in the Big House of heaven with the Lord.
(Can we get together when you are in Dallas???)

Anonymous said...

Fr. Jim,
I had the same opportunity at our pre-game Mass in New Orleans in Jan. of 1997. The message was simple:
Today, millions of people around the world will gather to participate in a special event. They will bring their hopes and dreams prayers. They will join together with others to proclaim their unity and dedication. They will listen and watch and participate in the greatest event of human history....the Eucharist. (What event did YOU think I was talking about?)
At a football game millions can be spectators, but only a select few actually particpate. At the Eucharist we ALL take part...no spectators...all are invited and invested and uniformed and involved. We are not salt containers, we are the salt. We are not fancy flashlights, we are light. The hungry will be fed and the lowly will be raised because we choose to take the strength of this sacrament and move beyond spectator status.
God bless, Jim. Have a safe trip and a great time. Greeting to my friends on the equipment and medical staff...probably the only guys who'd still remember me.
John Blaha

Anonymous said...

Fr. Jim:

It's just a game. A destination of great magnitude that is the result of a long and trying road. We have and will face set backs and challenges along this road, but never lose faith. Faith in the abilities that we have been given and blessed to share with others. God given talents that unite us toward common objectives. These gifts are ours to share. We will face obstacles along our journey. There are those that will be against us, but more importantly those that will always be with us. Embrace them all. They will support us when we are unable to stand on our own and stand with us in glory and the light when our day comes. This is our time. Welcome God's blessings. Embrace God's gifts. Share what you have been so honored to possess. It is in our sacrifices, actions and unity that we will triumph. Live without regrets. Leave it all on the field. Life is a game. This is just a game.

God bless, safe travel and enjoy!
Dawn and Brad Christel

Shaun Johnson said...

You have a great set up in the Gospel for that week - "a city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." Those who have greatness within are called to put forth the effort and will to bring forth the light thus glorifying our God through the sacr...ifice and struggles we encounter in the challenges ahead. It is times of great struggle that we are called to rise up, and as you say knock our selves out for Christ. As professional athletes, coaches, and members of this community we are called to accept the gifts that God has given and actualize the potential we are called to in line with those gifts, as individuals, as team, as members of a loving community on our journey to God.

Anonymous said...

Father Jim,

You don't need any help with your homily! We should all be as well versed as you!!

God bless, have a great time, and GO PACK GO!!

A friend from Silver Lake College said...

Peré Jim,

I don't know much about football.

I do know that I love the Light -- the Light Who is expressed in us and with us and by us and through us. The Light is not only expressed in one way. He is expressed in many ways, and in every way that accompanied by love and honor and truth.

Another man who knew at least that, and whose life was a consequent blessing to everyone he knew, was Mr. Vincent Lombardi. The Light shone in him, and the first reading and the psalm speak about the man who it was he was. That which is asked of us in the Gospel reading is not very different from that which Vince would ask of any of us yet today - to be who it is that we are, to be those persons and that people with truth and goodness and honor, and to give those gifts of our entire selves in love and service to the community to who we belong.

By necessity, anyone traveling on business returns eventually to the house or apartment where they keep their possessions. It is our choice that makes that house a home, that people a family... that city a city on a mountain, to be the light for all the world. We must choose who it is we are to be. If we do that, our actions and their consequences will have no choice but to follow.

Now go be a family, and bring that Lombardi Trophy home.

+ + +

Love and all good things, James. Be well. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello Father,

A teacher of yours from Merrill thinks that perhaps talking about the trappings of the Super Bowl might be a good topic. For instance how human trafficking will happen behind the scenes during this big game. It's something that the nation needs to know about since there are between 100 and 300 thousand U.S. children trafficked within our own borders each year. You can visit http://www.traffick911.com/ and get some great information. Jay Ratliff, three-time pro-bowler Dallas Cowboy has joined the fight.


Jane Comeau said...

I'll ditto "Anonymous'" comment re: the hard work Traffick911 is doing to raise awareness around the issue of human trafficking.

If we stood up as tall for human rights as we do for our teams the world would be a kinder, gentler place! Let's stop trafficking, especially at this year's Super Bowl.

Thanks & peace!

Anonymous said...

I think the "Salt of the Earth" and "Light of the World" themes are very fitting.

First "Salt of the Earth" - Look at the players who make up this team. With all their fame and notoriety can you think of a phrase that more fittingly describes guys like Donald Driver? Charles Woodson? Aaron Rodgers?

The phrase, "worth their salt" comes from ancient times when soldiers were paid in salt and it was regarded as valuable as gold. In this biggest game of their life, remind them to play like they're worth their salt and then after be humble and use their gifts for the greater good.

I like the phrase, "A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." Even though these players come from across the United States, their accomplishments set Green Bay as a city on the hill that cannot be hidden. Here's little old Green Bay, the smallest city to have an NFL team - there will be more fans at the Superbowl than the entire population of Green Bay - yet here we are, playing for our 13th World Championship - more than any team in the history of the NFL. Let that light shine on Green Bay and hopefully not only will the team be up to the task, but hopefully the population of this city will be up to the task to be Salt of the Earth, and a light shining before all.

Last but not least I can't imagine a Superbowl homily that doesn't include at least one or 2 quotes from Vince Lombardi:

“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

Vince had it right, winning may be the only thing, but in the end we’ll all be judged by our works. After all of this Superbowl hype dies down, go back to being salt of the earth for your fellow man.

Another great quote from Lombardi is, "Think of only three things: your God, your family and the Green Bay Packers-in that order." Keep the first 2 in the right order, and the last one will take care of itself.

Now go out there and bring the old coaches trophy back home!

Our Lady, Queen of Victory - PRAY FOR US!!!

Anonymous said...

Tell the boys....We are Family!!! Win or lose the Love & Support will always be with them!!!

vdospec said...

Just be yourself and play the game, it's just a game, focus on just that..get rid of the hype till you win later..and then pray to god and thank him for his support..

Anonymous said...

Well, for some levity, a couple of things...Thou shalt not steel, and thus, you are playing today a bunch of steelers...now let's go out there and chastise them!

#2: Coach Lombardi was a staunch, daily communicant Catholic. Coach McCarthy is a staunch Catholic, recently the Bishop of Green Bay approved a Marian Apparition site just north of Green Bay in "Champion"...the Vestments are Green and Gold for this Sunday and now you are playing in the Superbowl...coincidence? I think not.

Anonymous said...

From former Altar and Choir Boy Patrick, just a short prayer:

Aaron Rodgers, who art in Lambeau, Hallowed be thine arm.
Thy Super Bowl will come, it will be won, in Dallas as it was in Lambeau.
Give us this Sunday our season win and forgive the less-passers, as you will not let them pass against us.
Lead us not into frustration, but deliver us from Steelers.
For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and... the glory of the God and St Vince, now and forever.
Go get'em. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Many of Vince Lombardi's quotes are excellent, and so "Packers" - you can find several here:


I especially like these:

“The spirit, the will to win and the will to excel – these are the things that endure and these are the qualities that are so much more important than any of the events that occasion them.”

“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

“Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.”

And finally:

“If you don’t think you’re a winner, you don’t belong here.”

Best of luck to all our guys! They have an incredible legacy to live up to and carry on. We are proud to be Packer fans!

Debbie Rodriguez, Austin, TX

Anonymous said...

God sends many messengers to share his Word. It has to be that way. It is a complicated world and we speak in many languages with many diverse backgrounds. You never know when you will hear the message the time it will make sense and you will be filled with the spirit.

Today - these teams are the messenger. These players are the messenger. They have the entire country's attention. This will be the highest rated television program of the year.

Be the messenger. Be the light that shines on the fans and the friends and those who were not given the opportunity yet to be the messenger yet.

Play your best, your hardest. The Steelers aren't the enemy - they are your partners in this opportunity. The enemy is fear and the enemy is sloth and the enemy is ego.

Let nothing distract you from the opportunity to be your absolute best and brightest when the world is watching.

Be the light because today you are the messenger. Everyone is watching. But have no fear, for you are not alone. The Lord and all of us are with you.

Anonymous said...

The life in the Trinity is the Father pouring himself out to the Son, and not holding anything back. The Son pouring Himself out to the Father,and not holding anything back. The love they share is so real it makes up the third person the Holy Spririt. In the readings Christ is calling us to pour out ourselves, do not hold anything back. That what is what we are all called to do. This is what heaven is going to be like. Look at the readings closely, they are all calling us to be unselfish. Give yourself away,and not holding anything back. Today is your chance to give yourself away to your coaches, teamates, family, friends, and all who watch just waiting to see a glimpse of heaven. Here is your chance to be like Christ, do not be selfish, give all of yourself away. Give all of yourself away! Let the world see Christ in the way you play today. Let the world see what we are all called to do, be unselfish.Play for each other, do not hold anything back, play for Christ. Let the world see heaven!

Anonymous said...

Lots of people are picking quotes by Lombardi which are very appropriate. I love the one about remembering the 3 things: "your God, your family amd the Green Bay Packers - in that order." I like this one, too: “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” Superbowl LXV and the rest of your lives. Go Packers. God Bless your travels.
Kris S
Conover, WI

Anonymous said...

Our parents, Margaret & Ray Luedke, were avid Packer fans, especially our Mother. They attended every game for years and were some of those devotees who bundled up and attended the “Ice Bowl” game. Mom developed Alzheimers and spent her last few years in a Green Bay nursing home. She forgot many things and many people, but she never forgot the Packers and watched “her guys” every Sunday on TV.

The last year of her life, a nurse, who was her secret Santa that year, knowing how much the Packers meant to her, bought her a new pair of green and gold tennis shoes. She asked Donald Driver to autograph those shoes. Well, Mom was thrilled; she wore them all day, everyday! People offered her money for them, but she wouldn’t take them off. She even balked at bedtime.

One day when I went to visit, she was in a lucid moment and we talked about her funeral. She said she wanted to be buried in her fancy red dress so that our Dad, who had died of Alzheimers 4 years earlier, would “know she was coming”. Then she looked at me and said she also wanted to wear her “Donald Driver tennis shoes”. We buried her the following July…in her red dress…and her Donald Driver tennis shoes.

Today she’s cheering you on, Donald…she’s cheering on the whole Packer team, all of “her guys”. Win this one for Donald; win this one for our Mom. Many thanks for all the joy you brought to her life, and ours, by “letting your light shine” for those in need, and by gifting all of us with your time and your talents.
Judy Luedke Boncher, Barbara Luedke Geurts, Ralph Luedke

Anonymous said...

How about: "The fact that I'm here is absurd! I mean, why would God care about a meaningless game of football where the main objective (besides huge profits) is to win and hurt the opposing team? The similarities to war are pretty strong ... Also, why do we believe in fairy tales and an imaginary dictator in the sky? The truth is ... we, humans, have no idea -- yet -- as to our place in the Universe. However, there are very many talented individuals (researchers, scientists) trying to piece it together. Let's not make up stories like children to explain the amazingly complex nature of reality."

Be good for goodness sake -- not for the ridiculous notion of an eternal reward.

I saw this blog on a news story and thought you'd appreciate the response from a different demographic.

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase a quote by Erma Bombeck.....
"When I stand before God at the end of my life (THE GAME)I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say: I used everything you gave me."

Jan. 31, 2011
Melrose, WI

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Jim,

Could there be better readings for Super Bowl Sunday? It would be hard to find many. From the first reading, to the psalm, to the gospel, all seem to remind us that "actions speak louder than words." How appropriate a message, for on any game day a team's actions--its execution of strategy, its athleticism, and, most importantly, its sportsmanship and conduct--speak louder than any pre-game hype, trash talk, or 30-second commercial can.

In the last week, one thing that has really impressed me about this year's Green Bay Super Bowl Team is its attitude toward Sunday's game. Over and over again, I've heard players and coaches tell reporters that Sunday isn't "THE" Super Bowl, it's simply "the next game." The team has approached what our culture considers a monumental event with real humility, focus, and determination. Their attitude wonderfully reflects the solid, humble, hardworking community they call home.

So perhaps Sunday's homily shouldn't be about rising to the occasion of the Super Bowl but instead about staying grounded after it is over. We are the light of the world, and we are also the salt of the earth. The real challenge is not to find God in the Champion, but in the one who is down on her luck. In the grand scheme of life, the Super Bowl--despite the pageantry, spectacle, magic, and excitement it provides--is really just "another game." Those who can return from such an exclusive experience and--no matter the outcome--spread the joy of the moment and the love of the crowd with the lowliest of men and women are the real lights of the world.

Safe travels and many blessings,
Stefanie Jochman (SNC alum)

Anonymous said...

I wasn't much of a fan until this year. I'd watch a few drives, note the final score, but was never quite sure if the Pack had a winning record or not. Since October, though, I've rearranged my schedule to watch every down, subscribed to Packer Plus and I'll soon be buying a jersey (just can't decide between #12 and #85). Why the change? Early in the season I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of headlines from around the league about players who were...how do I put it?...embarrassing, to themselves, to their fans and to the league. I actually said to my husband, "Does our home team have more integrity than this?" His reply was, "Yes, I think so."

Cynic that I am, I actually started looking for embarrassments. Temper tantrums. Snide remarks during press conferences. TMZ stuff. And I found nothing. Just a bunch of guys who seem very aware of how blessed they are to be doing what they love, who are quick to throw the spotlight off themselves and onto their teammates, who behave with great integrity.

Integrity. I love that word. It's the quality I most value in a friend, the one I most want to see my children develop, the one I hope others see in me.

No matter what happens on Sunday, it is my most sincere wish that the Green Bay Packers can continue to play and behave with integrity. It's what your fans mean when we say, "You make us proud!"

Now, go make us proud!

Anonymous said...


Fr. Jim--

I don't presume to know what to say to team preparing for the biggest game of their lives, but Luke 12:48 (To whom much is given, much is expected) comes to mind on such a momentous occasion.

These young men have received gifts/talents and an opportunity all of us have only dreamed of. This game is only a game, but it represents the dreams and passion of millions... connecting fathers and sons, friends and neighbors to support the hard work and commitment it takes to wholly realize each one of these gifts.

And in doing this, each one of the players and coaches not only represent themselves and their team, but they also represent their families and every kid in their neighborhoods back home, showing them the goodness that only the Lord can provide through His gifts and grace.

When they put their uniforms on and take the field this Sunday, they're provided a "mountain to shine from". By rising to the level of Super Bowl contenders, they have an opportunity to "share their bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; and not turn their back on their own."

Sunday they play for everyone who believes in the goodness and the power of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating that their "faith rests in the power of God."

Padre, you're the best homilist I know... I'm afraid there's not a whole lot to gain from my ideas... but no one's offered me a chance to help write one, I had to give it a try!

Have a great time in Dallas JB, bring that trophy back home! See you at Old St. Joe's...

--Tom Wall
Denmark, WI

Anonymous said...

Many fine words are written here from many fine people so all I can offer is to say, give thanks and just let it be in God's hands and hope that He in his infinite mercy is a Packer fan. Amen.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say my prayers are with you all on this day god bless you all and GO PACK GO!!!!

Donna Maurer
Sheboygan Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

Father, as a fellow Catholic, I would take the opportunity to talk about the virtue of patience, of hope. How to accept the unwanted with faith and dignity. How prayer helps heal the many wounds we suffer through life. Please do talk about how There is always a next year, how not to give up, because this year the Sweet Lord will test your congregation, and they will need you to lift them up, after Sundays loss that is.

s.green said...

When you can get the attention of so many people in one place it is the time to talk about attitude.....and attitude is everything......as we know it determines altitude. So with a positive attitude the Packers will win. Peace will prevail and the goodness of humankind will overcome the naysayers!

Anonymous said...

I would like to talk to all of you (Packers) about honor, strenght, and glory before this huge game. You see when "defining moments" come, as they all do in each man's life; in each game you play...that each of us, will be tested to make the right choice. It will be at that "defining moment" that I would like you to remember; 1 cor 2:5 "that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." You see when a bad event occurs, see that your heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. A man can be a light to his team, fans, and even his opponents; giving "light to all in the house". This is why the Lord allows this game to be played. He calls on His men, to be a light in the darkness; to become wise during those ebbs and flows of the game. He wants this stage to glorify Him, in a manner that reveals His truths. Where your honor, wisdom, and strenght really comes from. That is what makes us different and unique to the world. When we look not on our own understanding and allow Him to use us as agents of His power. As a light in defining moments. Yes, you will have touchdowns and breath taking plays; just as you (Packers) have clearly demonstrated throughout this entire season. But now, at this Superbowl stage; where "defining moments" become history. I ask that "Isaiah 58:7-9 You "do not turn your back on your own, then your light will break forth like the dawn, and the Glory of the Lord will answer, and He will say: Here I am!"
Stan Seianas
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

The Lord shall be your right guard: Receivers will call Here I am: The city set on the Bay cannot be hidden.:Your light will shine and your strength will give glory to God who gave you your strength.

Anonymous said...

Fr Jim,
I believe the message around giving glory to God is a strong one, especially given the readings. If the Packers are intent on giving glory to God through their performance on the field of friendly strife, they cannot lose.
Each one of these men can be a light in the darkness, and they can be a light while performing in their natural environment. Many have said this is just a game...true but it is no more or no less real or important as any other piece of fabric in our lives. These men may not embrace the responsibility of role models, they need not. They should simply do their very best to give glory to God within the context of this contest.

Anonymous said...


Whether it be football or daily life God provides opportunity to know him. I am reminded of Romans 5:3-5 when I am feeling the pressures of life. We can find joy even when challenged, the challenges we face give us strength, the strength to succeed produces character, and it is character that gives us hope, and hope will never let us down. God showers us with his love through everthing.

This season has given us joy, the challenges the team faced strengthend them, this strength pushed them and defined their character to never quit. It is the never give up, never quit attitude that produced hope and that hope to succeed has pushed them to the top.

Anonymous said...

"You are the Salt of the Earth...You are the light of the World"
Winning or losing the game- what counts is
"your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father"

When one says "Packers" what comes to mind - strength - health- opportunity - money---The Green Bay Packers Foundation. What if the Packers win- how could they shine the Light to others whose eyes may be closed. How do we see God in those who play the game on and off the field? As people throughout the US gather/travel/pay to watch the game- Do they/you have similar desires to attend Mass? what if everyone had the same passion about being the Light of Christ, His Arms, His Legs. As you are proud to wear Packer Gear and show your support - are you proud to be the Light of Christ, How do we know you are part of the one Body?- "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." How do we use our God given talents to make the world a better place.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)
Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


Gayle Westfahl said...

Hi Fr. Baraniak,

What eventually came to my mind for this is the idea that this - the game, our lives - is not about us, but it is about God's glory. No matter what all of the media says, no matter the thousands of people chanting your name, all of the music and banners....it is ultimately not all about you. That is why in the first reading it says you are healed when share your bread with the hungry, and why a light will rise for you in the darkness when you satisfy the afflicted and remove malicious speech from around you. It is not all about you, but remembering others as well. That is why Paul did not come with wonderfully eloquent speeches to win people over. It was with a demonstration of Spirit and power that could only be attributable to the Lord. And this is why, as the Gospel says, we must shine so that others may give glory to God.

The team can give this glory to God by playing an inspired football game, beyond the mechanics (reminiscent, perhaps, of a certain game after the death of someone's father, but perhaps you shouldn't mention that :-)) - the kind-of game that reminds people that there is more going on here on earth and that it pervades even a football game. The team can give the glory to God by a demonstration of unity - let no division be among you, and know that all parts of the body are important and the eye cannot be without the ear nor the ear without the hand, etc. The team can give the glory to God by giving it everything they have and not hiding their talents under a bushel but allowing others to see the gifts God has given them. The team can give the glory to God by noticing, as Jesus did, the outcast on the side of the road waiting for a kind word, whether it be in the stands, on the street, or a letter they received. And the team can give the glory to God in their focus, joy, and how they handle the result of the game - winning and losing - and how much it is or isn't about each of them.

The fans need this reminder in their daily lives, they need to hope in something greater that goes beyond the end of the game - and the nation that sees this team shine in the light that glorifies God will only love them more for it.

Gayle Westfahl
- SNC & Freshman Seminar alum :-)

Matt Gee said...

I think the Green Bay Packers need to hear Ecclesiastes 9:11. That pretty much says it.

Matt Gee,
Rhinelander, WI

Kay said...

Maybe use the 2nd reading from 1 Corinthians and focus on the fact that all comes from the power of God - He is in charge of everything. Although we like to attribute success to our human power, which is certainly needed too!, He is the ultimate power. Certainly where we are now - in the Super Bowl - after our season of injuries, etc, leads us to realize that and thank Him. And no matter what happens Sunday, no matter how hard we play, He will be the one in charge of the final verdict. We may not understand that now, (or agree with that if we lose) but someday we will.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

Please post your homily. Based on the input, it will be grand!

Anonymous said...

Just remind them, you need to put Christ first, the Super Bowl second, we all want to win the Super Bowl but, it is only possible with Christ at the wheel. Remember to thanks Him for helping us this far.
God Bless you all.
Go Pack Go!!

Anonymous said...

Father: I've been playing "You Raise Me Up" on the piano; words are powerful; "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains"; "Strong when I am on your shoulders"; "You raise me up to more than I can be". Perhaps you could work these thoughts into your homily. Good luck, God bless, Go Pack Go! Donna L.

CaptBMX said...

Don't know much about football as I'm from London, UK but am rooting for the Packers. I went to the Shrine of Our Lady at Champion to pray that the Packers would make it to the Superbowl. Well, I heard that's where miracles happen so I bought a yellow and white rosary (they didn't have green) and God answered my prayers so now using my new rosary beads and praying that they will beat the Steelers on Sunday. Yes, God is GOOD!
We met Mike McC when we moved here 4 years ago - he was so kind to us, stopped and talked to my boys, signed their hats. He is a great coach and leader. We are all praying for you- Go Pack Go - you have converted me!

Anonymous said...

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint...
St. Paul

Anonymous said...

Father Jim... As Jesus said in the Gospel reading "Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." The Green Bay Packers organization and players are following the right and righteous path with a pregame Mass with you.
Thank God you followed the path to the priesthood and did not continue your study of accounting after high school. God Bless you and the Green Bay Packers.
Paul Syrjala, Antigo

Anonymous said...

The Lord has given each and every one of us special talents. The Packers have the opportunity to show the world a tiny bit of what they've been given. It makes no difference what religion we all are, the Lord loves each and every one of us. Let's pull together not just for this game but for the more important things in our world. God Bless all of us and of course the Packers!

Anonymous said...

Idol Worship and Idolatry!

The wages of sin is spiritual death!

Lombardi Trophy VIOLATES God’s Ten Commandments, does it not?

Anonymous said...

I'm a member, lector, catechist, former council member of St Pius in Little Suamico WI so I REALLY enjoy being Catholic! My idea for a homily would focus on the Gospel:
All of us, Packers especially at this time, are salt of the earth. With an emphasis on being a public figure and an example to others, the Packers should opt for tasteful choices, no matter what they do, for the good of themselves and the example they portray for those who choose to look up to them. If they make distasteful choices they will set poor examples not only for themselves but again, for all those who look up to them. Being a public figure like the Packers calls for responsibility. By choosing options in life that create a light for others to follow and see by, they (or anyone else), by being Christian, will provide inspiration for others and will reflect highly in the Father's eyes, and the spotlight representative of the Super Bowl couldn't get any brighter; the world is watching the Packers. This theme can also be found in reading #1 which talks about removing poor choices/actions from your midst and helping others who are less fortunate, especially when you find yourself quite fortunate (ie, having made it to and possibly winning the Super Bowl), which makes for tasteful choices too.

The Packers have made it to the Super Bowl because that was God's plan. He chose the Packers to be a light to the world in the spotlight of the Super Bowl. The Packers have a responsiblity to be thankful for that and to serve God in return by being model Christians, setting examples for others to follow.

Anonymous said...

If you use the gifts God has given you, even in the spotlight, you can let His light shine brighter. Don't be ashamed of your skill, but let it shine in honor of the one who has given it to you. Don't be malicious toward your competitors, but compete with spirit and joy; for indeed it is just a game, but your caliber of skill is an exception-a light God has entrusted you not to hide under a basket.

People will watch, People will judge, and you will know in your heart if you are using the best you have been given in the best possible way. Let the world know and see what it is to use the gifts you've been given and show humbly how Graced you are by His will.

At the end of this day, the game will be over but your relationship with God will remain, you be given the opportunity to answer "Did what I said, did, and how I acted TODAY aid on my journey to My Father's arms?

sarah D said...

Fr Jim, Thank You for standing open to the messages that the Holy Spirit sends to us. Your humility is the second reading, personified.

If it were my job to deliver a homily, that could possibly permeate the preoccupation that is this game, I would address their readiness for it. There is no more prep time. There is actually peace in the fact that it has run out. Their training has made them ready physically. Their studying has made them ready mentally. And their deeds have made them ready spiritually. The first reading is instruction for spiritual preparedness. I would encourage them to recognize how they have answered the instruction. Then, I would ask them to take that readiness out on the field as well. This team has answered the mandate of this scripture. They are involved in so many community projects. The Donald Driver foundation alone feeds, clothes, shelters, and repairs the afflicted. For the love of what is good, the whole team supports Don’s efforts as well as those of the Packer Foundation. The Packer Wives collect clothing for our needy and promote charitable causes. They are advocates for healthy and safe living in our community. These deeds are what rises His light, these deeds outfit the charitable with vindication and the glory of the Lord. This protection given from God, is stronger than any pad, helmet, or opponant. The light is brighter than any spotlight or camera flash. It will never go out.

Paul was a powerful and intelligent man. He educated himself and developed his skills. Yet, he gave all glory to God (2nd read). He was a masterful communicator, that set him apart as gifted man. Yet, he knew he needed more than just his own abilities. Much the same, Fr Jim, you asked us to become vehicles for the Holy Spirit. With the help of the Spirit, and your brothers and sisters, you will give your gift in the form of a homily to your friends and ultimately....back to the Father. When the players lift their hands to garner support from the fans, they are recognizing that their gifts, given only by Him, are strengthened by God-given brothers and sisters. This humble recognition, gives God the glory.

So, With the understanding that all good gifts are sent from heaven....and with the confidence that these gifts have been adequately prepared for the contest, the third reading is a calling to share them. How generous the Lord to give the gifts of such fantastic salt and light. Today, is time to shake it and shine it. When you see that your gifts are His gifts, that’s a prayer. When you are respectful of your opponent and the officials (even when they fail ), that praises Him. When you rouse the crowd for fan-fair and thank them for their support with a Hula dance, a leap, or perhaps a little teaser of the championship belt, you are shining your light in gratitude. The magnitude of instruction and advice given to these players, in the recent past, must be daunting. So, rather than add one more entry to list of things to remember, put it on the list of things to recognize. When you do that dance, or that raising of the crowd, or a fist pump. Make that a prayer. Your light will shine. And when those around you, see your light, you give thanks and glory to God.

Anonymous said...

Thousands of hearts--one love
spiritual level--love of God
human level--love of a team or love of the game

Anonymous said...

Dear Father, What awesome scriptures God gave you for this Sunday! As I watch the game, I'll be wondering about your homily. (Any chance you'll share it on this blog?)
Packer's Fan from Centerville, OH (Home of A.J. Hawk!)

Anonymous said...

If I were a player, a sermon about the 1 Corinthians reading would be nice: we are already dead in Christ, what have we to fear? How can we be defeated? We are the living dead, sent to witness to the firstborn of all the dead! Packer zombies are unstoppable!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Father God for the opportunity to share your Word in response to this journey: 1John5:21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (For myself in spending more time on the Packers than with You Lord.)
1Cor10:30 whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (for all)
John 17:11 Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name (esp, for Aaron's head, Donald's quad,& Clifton)
Ps34:14 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil (for Ben R. and Harrison who are powerhouses without respect for others' bodies)
Rom6:12 Therefore, do no let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires
(for sinners confess and repent and be forgiven)
Pro27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (for Madden & likes predicting winners)

I've turned to God's Word that He be glorified,
evil not be elevated, & trust in His timing.

More thoughts because I fear injury to players in Super Bowl, esp. Rodgers & receivers:
paralysis comes when look at enemy, our strength comes from looking at God!

The student becomes the teacher;
we need one another, the body has many parts, when one falls, the others are there to help up;
Focus on God!
"Be brave enough to follow - see what Jesus can do when you keep your eyes on Him" (from a Stuart Briscoe Bible Conference);
Buckle up the belt of truth-Ex 15:18 The LORD will reign for ever and ever;
and be a mighty fortress in protecting Rodgers.

"G" stands for Great!

And finally,
Numbers 6:24
"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace."

Tina (Bures) Heuss said...

Hi Fr. Jim,

Thanks for asking! Great Compass and Antigo Daily Journal article from our "hometown priest!" We have so many awesome things going on in the Church, this just highlights one of them. What struck me about the readings this week is the concept of the "salt of the earth," which sounds humbling, but is very exalting; not because of our own abilities, but because of God's Grace working through us. For the Packers, even the road to this biggest game started with the first step, that they all prepared well. We have every confidence in the Packers' participation in the Super Bowl, both on and off the field. Whether they bring home the Lombardi Trophy or a Sportmanship Award, we will celebrate them for adding a little "spice" to our "salt of the earth" lives. We can't wait to be with them in spirit at this big game! Go, Pack, Go!

Anonymous said...

Share about Eric Liddell, the Scottish Olympian from the 1924 Olympics.

"God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure."

Anonymous said...

St.Paul says in his epistle, "I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message. . .[was]. . .with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Today you have the opportunity to demonstrate your spirit and power, resting on the Spirit and Power of God. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, "You are the light of the world.. . . Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Each of you have been given the gift of strength and talent on the football field, which have led you to this day. Let your light shine!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jimmy~
I've been thinking about you all week...
I hope you're having the time of your life!:)
I will say a prayer to the Holy Spirit that you are endowed with beautiful wisdom for your homily.
I'm so proud of you Little Bro!
You and Daddy both have great seats this year :)
I can't wait to hear all about it...
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

Fr. Jim,

It seems that the Packers (and you) are in the "spotlight." The Gospel calls us to let God's light shine from us to give witness to the great gifts God has given us. Let's not let the bright lights blind us. Let's let God's light blind the world. May God abundantly bless you in your ministry!

Your friend from NDA and now the Chancery.

Angie said...

I went to Mass tonight, and the homily was about how despite all the scandal surrounding the Catholic Church, the world still looks to it to set the moral standard. For every big issue, be it war, abortion, morality, or many other things, politicians, leaders, media, and various other groups all look to what is going to be the Catholic Church's stand on the issue. And whether they choose to agree with it or not, the Church is still the "moral authority" that the world looks to for guidance. The same parallel can be made to professional athletes. People, especially young people, look to these sports heros as role models, to teach them how they should act, and even many times what is right and what is wrong. Who better to look up to than the Green Bay Packers? In a sports world rocked with the sex scandals of Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre, it is nice to have men like Greg Jennings, who take the time to kneel and say a quick prayer on the field after making a touchdown, or like Aaron Rodgers, whose classiness and grace set the standard for the others to follow, both on and off the field. The players on this team are truely a "light of the world", by the excellent example that they set. We are proud to have such fine men representing our state.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the team! I am most proud that the very first on-field Packer interview after the game was not, "I'm going to Disney World" but instead a sincere and awestruck, "To God be the Glory."

There were more handshakes and smiles on players faces this year than any SuperBowl I've ever seen. Your words, the Holy Spirit, and men of integrity played a part in that.

What a wonderful instrument of His you are!

Anonymous said...

Well Jim, Whatever you preached did the trick! Congrats to the Pack and may God bless your season long healing ministry (increased by 3 last night!) (; Sending my prayers for you, the Norbertines, St. Norbert's, and the Packers organization.

Take Care,

James Kurzynski (Brother Priest and Packer Hack!)

Anonymous said...


Congratulations! Whatever you said must have worked! I thought you might like this column from Bishop Morlino- perhaps you could share it with Greg Jennings next time you see him.


Go Pack Go!

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