It ain’t over till it’s over.

July 1st Sunday Readings.

In game 6 of the 2011 World Series, the Texas Rangers were one strike away from David_Freese_on_April_30,_2010winning their first World Series championship. It was the bottom of the 9th inning and there were two outs. All the Rangers needed was one more strike or a pop up or a ground out. Their championship hats and t-shirts were ready, waiting to be distributed. The champagne was on ice and the Ranger’s lockers were being covered in plastic. 

Down 1-2 in the count, St. Louis Cardinal David Freese hit a line drive over a leaping Nelson Cruz for a triple scoring two runs and tying the game, sending it to extra innings. Immediately in the 10th inning the Rangers scored two runs to go up 9-7 and in the bottom of the 10th inning they were one out, one strike away from wining it all, again. But Lance Berkman hit a single that tied the game sending it to the 11th inning. 

Freese again stepped to the plate where he hit a walk-off home run that won Game 6 and sent the World Series to a Game 7, which the St. Louis Cardinals won. Twice the Cardinals faced elimination and twice they narrowly escaped to play another inning or game. 

Whether you were a fan of the Rangers or the Cardinals, Game 6’s motto was, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

In the gospel this weekend Jesus cures the dying (or dead) daughter of Jarius, a synagogue official. At one point, other officials from the synagogue tell Jarius not to “trouble the teacher” since his daughter is dead. Jesus tells him to have faith. 

The other officials want to throw in the towel, to give up, but Jesus shows us what faith can do. Jesus shows us what it means to keep the faith. Jesus shows us that it’s not over till it’s over for the daughter of Jarius and for us too.

When it comes to faith, it’s not too late for us. If you are reading this, it’s not too late for you. God hasn’t given up on us. As far as God is concerned, we are a game tying single away from changing everything and returning to him. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “I am what I am. I can’t change.” Or maybe you often say, “I’m not a religious person, God wouldn’t want me.” Or maybe you’ve thought, “It’s too late for me, I’ve made my decision about faith & God & Catholicism.”  If you’ve thought any of these things or sentiments like them, let me be clear – you’re wrong. 

The game isn’t over yet. You might feel like there are two outs in the bottom of the 9th and you are down 0-2, but know that even by the skinniest of margins, God can save.
More importantly, God desires to save you. God desires to be near to you. God wants you near to him forever in heaven, and it’s not too late. It’s not over yet. 

Live It:
Admit to God in prayer right now, “God, it’s not over, till it’s over. I know you’re not done yet.”

The Good Word for Oct 19

For the complete Sunday readings click here.

MLB: NLDS-Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis CardinalsI am a St. Louis Cardinals fan and this time of year is like Christmas to me. My Cardinals are usually in the playoffs and are almost always a contender for a World Series title. The only issue is that almost every night is a baseball night. I stay up watching games. There is no chance any other TV will be watched. Plans get cancelled or rearranged. Baseball rules all.

In the readings today, we heard some pretty powerful statements. In the first reading from Isaiah we hear God say, “I am the LORD, there is no other.” Isaiah is talking specifically about Israel not being ruled by other kings and princes. God is God and there are no other gods. No one rules but God.

Then in the Gospel Jesus tells those Pharisees trying to trick him that they should give “to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God.”

The thing is that we often let a lot of things rule our life other than God. Just like how baseball rules my schedule in October, I choose to make things that aren’t God be LORD of my life. I often, sometimes unintentionally, put something ahead of God. Honestly, today it was work. Instead of taking solid prayer time this morning, I jumped right into email and I haven’t stopped working since.

Often we think of sin as doing or saying bad things. In reality, sin is sometimes putting good things in the wrong order.

God wants to be our priority, not just one of our many priorities. Priority means “first thing.” We literally can’t have multiple first things. Either God is first or something else is.

The good news is that we can change. The process of making God first is life long. But every long process starts with one small decision.

Live it:
Take out your phone right now. Look at this week (or maybe today if you are a crazy busy person). What rules your life? What takes a majority of your time? Make a plan to put God first tomorrow in some small way. Schedule 5 minutes of prayer in your calendar.