Baseball has had countless moments of redemption over its storied 139 year history, ever since the senior circuit (the NL) officially came into existence. There’s Josh Hamilton, the former blue-chip prospect then drug-riddled, washed-up failure, turned sober, Christian, AL MVP (who, like anyone in his condition, has had his ups and downs). Or, David Freese who dropped a critical pop-up in Game 6 of the World Series, then, down to his (and the Cardinals) last strike, delivered a two run game-tying triple in bottom of the 9th and the walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 11th. Look at all the worst to first teams in MLB history. They show us that any spring a team can turn it around and become a winner. Just look at the KC Royals--they went from not making the post season for 29 years to being just 90 feet from tying Game 7 in the Bottom of the 9th (Don’t you think Gordon should have tried for home?)!
Yes, redemption and new life are common themes which permeate the game (just look at these great comebacks and underdog stories). Baseball shows us that any team can win (yes, even the Cubs) and any player can be a hero. It’s a microcosm of life. Life is filled with redemption and new life. Humanity, as long as we have existed, has had the potential to be great: to love and to think as no other animal has – in the very image of God Himself. But with this freedom to love and chose, to think and reason, comes the other side of the coin: sin. Since sin first came into the world with the first abuse of free will and knowledge there has been darkness in the world, enmity between people, oppression, injustice, and death. But our God had a plan. He would not let humanity walk in darkness, to be slaves of sin and subject to death. He became one of us, assuming a human nature to his own divine nature, becoming fully human in the man Christ Jesus, while remaining fully God. This same Godhead who, as three persons in one infinite and eternal substance, perfectly exists as love, as Dante writes at the end of his Divine Comedy when Dante is given the grace to glimpse the Trinity in Heaven.
When on this earth, He gave us an example of how to live, and at the end He took on all sin and its effects in His suffering, culminating in the Cross. In his death He defeated sin and death, and then by rising on the third day restored our life. So that we might not only have faith and the forgiveness of sins, but life eternal, a newness of life that can begin now, not just when we die. All it takes is openness to His grace, to His love and to His mercy. No matter what you have done: sins of any kind, even if you've rejected belief in God or have hated his Church. God has already redeemed you and is waiting to let us renew ourselves in His grace each day. I mean even Judas would have been offered forgiveness if he had sought it.
It is never too late to start seeking God. Just think of the graces He’s trying to give you at this moment. Then, maybe say just a little prayer when you wake-up or sit in the silence of His love before you go to bed; maybe get involved at a local church for the first time. You never know how God could use you to hit a homerun in the circumstances that are your life.
And baseball gives us a small glimpse of this reality of new life. On a personal note, I have a friend who has wandered away from his faith and as friends we’ve drifted a part over the years: we haven’t spoken in over a decade. This summer we have agreed to get together and talk, trying to rekindle and reconcile our friendship.
We’re meeting at a baseball game.
BROS. Wesley & Patrick's 2015 MLB Predictions
Br. Wesley: AL Division Winners - BOS, CHW, LAA Br. Patrick: AL Division Winners - BAL, CLE, LAA
NL Division Winners - WAS, CHC, LAD NL Division Winners - WAS, STL, LAD
AL Wild Card - SEA & BAL AL Wild Card - SEA & BOS
NL Wild Card - STL & SD NL Wild Card - MIA & SD
WS - WAS over LAA in 6 WS - SEA over WAS in 5