A COUPLE OF weeks ago I was in Colorado Springs watching my nephew play football for the Air Force Academy — number 31, if you’re interested. He is in his senior year and has to serve a minimum of five years active duty as an Air Force officer.
They were playing Navy, and there were a few hundred midshipmen in the stands, in full uniform. One can’t help but feel that they’ve stepped back in time. I’ve been to a lot of football games in my time but you could not find a more polite, respectful crowd — still a crowd, still yelling — than at a service academy game.
Post-game, which Air Force won handily, the players from both teams sang their school’s song to the midshipmen and the Air Force officers in a near-full stadium that had hushed to an unbelievable silence.
As an added bonus, cellphone coverage ceased to work in the stadium so there was no distraction with that.
Fighter jets flew over the top of the stadium, nearly through it, to begin the game — not something you normally see, but a reminder that the men soon to do battle on the field will be on the front lines trying to protect our country, our world, and, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, so we are able to sleep soundly in our beds at night.
Just something to think about today.
How about Maximilian Kolbe, too? This Franciscan friar and saint gave his life voluntarily to a stranger at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. The man and his family survived the war. Kolbe was killed in his cell August 14, 1941.
Who would we give our life for, and would that encompass a complete stranger? We really don’t know.
Do we realize that Jesus gave his life for all of us, truly all of us? Do we recognize and think about this at all?
One question I ponder and have entered into discussions with is: Why do some people choose God and others don’t?
First, a short parable. Patches of our lawn are bare this fall, so we threw some dirt down and some grass seed and let the rain take care of the rest. You have to have patience, but then in one day, you see all this new, bright green grass a couple of inches high. You let it grow and then realize you have to mow — the days of which are coming to an end.
And then you notice lots of grass seeds that never sprouted.
For whatever reason, they are just going to become bird food. And this made me think of people who choose God and those who don’t.
Jesus used this imagery of seeds and soil in his parable of the sower in Matthew, Mark and in Luke 8:4-15.
I have written of “restless hearts” before but I will do it again because I am so very sure of it.
To quote St. Augustine, “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
So many restless hearts in our world today. Choose God and see what happens.
A brief quote from Maxilimian Kolbe about another of my favorite subjects, truth.
“No one in the world can change truth. What we can do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it.”
To say a truth is “your truth,” is really not truth. This is post-truth, meaning no truth.
One more thing — if you are a Catholic and seek anointing of the sick, for you or for someone else, do not wait until your last breath or the hours before surgery as there might not be a priest available to bring you this sacrament. By all means seek anointing, but do not put this off.
For all time, God knew that you and I would be here — yes, here — during these volatile times.
Read the words of Jesus. You’ll see there is a better way and the real-life benefit of peace eternal.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim. His email is [email protected]