flag-football-coach

You Have A Coach

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It’s football season here at St. Gabriel’s Parish. We always have some kind of game going on.

Last week I had good friends from my first parish, St. Barnabas, here. Their Third Grader Team was playing our Third Grade Team. It was St. Barnabas vs. St. Gabriel. I went there to watch the game because they invited me.

As I was walking over to the field, I heard one of the parents say to his child, “Matt, son, you’re running the wrong way. You have to run this way!” I thought, “Oh, here we go.”

I was watching the game and St. Barnabas apparently has lost (Third Grade by the way, Third Grade flag football). So far, St. Barnabas has lost every game of their season. They won their first game when they came here.

Afterwards, I was talking to my friend who is the coach. I pretended I was interviewing him. I said, “Chris, what can you tell us about this magnificent turnaround about St. Barnabas? What was the magic that happened today that just normally doesn’t happen?”

I put the microphone in front of his face. He thought about it for a second, and he said, “You know, Father, you know what I think it was? They looked me in the eyes and listened to me. Normally they just run all over the place and have no clue what they’re doing. Today they looked at me and listened.”

It really hit me as being profound. For us, especially as we celebrate this Feast of the Archangels and also the Feast of Guardian Angels. This whole notion that God is always wanting to coach us, and sometimes we run in completely the wrong direction. We do not even know it unless we look at Him and listen.

I want to reflect on the Psalm today just for a moment. “Your words, O Lord make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25).

This yearning to have God teach us, to show us the right path, to show us the right way to go, if we’re going the right way or the wrong way. The truth is, we are like Christ in the world today and God is our Father. He is like the coach. He is constantly trying to tell us which way to go. He is constantly trying to teach us.  Constantly trying to give us direction.

All we have to do is pay attention to Him. Actually look at Him and listen. It is so easy, because if we do not do it, we are running the wrong way half the time. We do not even realize it.

The second thing is that we have this entire field of people on the sidelines that are cheering for us. All these people in our lives who want our salvation.

Think about all the Communion of Saints, all of your loved ones. They are there supporting you. Loving you. Cheering you on. Re-enforcing the codes, you know, run the other way if you are going the wrong way.

We are surrounded by this Communion of Saints. First of all, realizing, ultimately, we can listen to the voice of God. He can direct us in the right way to go.  Secondly, we do have this coach. We do have God the Father that wants to show us the way. Thirdly, not only that, but we have this entire Communion of Saints. All the angels, archangels, and all of our loved ones who have gone before us.  They are all there cheering us along the way, wanting us to go along the path of God.

I am inviting you to think about that today. Have you been listening? Have you been paying attention to God? Have you been looking Him in the eyes and actually listening to the way that He wants you to go?

Oftentimes we run in the wrong direction and we do not even know it. Sometimes all it takes is a simple glance back at the coach for him to say, “Go that way!”  Then he can get us right back in the right direction.

As we celebrate this Feast of the Archangels, and as we hear the Psalm, “Teach us Lord in your ways,” may we too always look at God the Father like He’s our coach, knowing that He wants to direct us. We also have this wonderful Communion of Saints and the Communion of Angels that surround us, cheer us on, and rally us so we ultimately may run in the direction of heaven.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.