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February 18, 2018: Lent and the Olympic Spirit

by Father Jadon

I love the Olympics—especially in the winter.  Since they started last week, I confess that I have spent quite a few hours in front of the television . . . staying up late to watch my favorite competitions: figure skating, snowboarding, the luge, short track speed skating, and so many more. As I watched the opening ceremony last weekend, I was really struck by the serendipitous timing of the Olympics and the beginning of Lent.  It may well be my own projection, but as I have been watching I have noticed what seems to be a more liberal use of the color purple this year!

The goal of the Olympic Movement is “to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” This year’s opening ceremony had peace as its central theme, culminating in that very special moment when Koreans from North and South entered in unity under a common banner. One of the most inspiring things about the Olympics, to me, is the incredible commitment of the athletes and their families.  Sometimes I surprise myself at how easily a tear wells up as I watch the biographical vignettes. More often than not it is in response to a story of great commitment and dedication.

Lent is a season to look inward and take stock of our life of faithful discipleship.  It is a time for us to “repent,” a word that is about both regret for our misdoings and an amendment of life.  In other words, the introspection of Lent is meant to produce not guilt but a reordering of our priorities and a renewal of our commitment to “run the great race,” to walk in the ways of the Lord. However you make your way through Lent, maybe this year we can all take a cue from the Olympics and reflect deeply upon the nature of our own commitment to peace and mutual understanding and the dedication we bring to the Christian endeavor.

Last Published: February 15, 2018 12:06 PM
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