Taking Charge

As I write this I am not sure when Coach K will return to the sidelines from back surgery to Coach the Duke Men’s basketball team. He has been recuperating for a number of weeks and in the interim, he has tasked his Assistant Coach Jeff Capel to lead the team. While illness can force any number of issues, it is still difficult to turn over the reins of a prized possession to someone else. Duke basketball has become synonymous with Coach K’s name, and letting anyone else lead it for any reason is not done lightly. Imagine doing it voluntarily!

We can’t! We can’t imagine freely choosing to allow someone else to run with an object that we have created, nurtured, and put on the map. However, isn’t that what God does? The creator of the universe has been turning over the helm to humanity since the beginning, and now it is our turn. But are we up for the task? Can we devise a winning game plan, work an effective practice session, and coach our way to victory from the hottest courtside seat? If we don’t believe we can, it is amazing that God believes we can. In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus uses words to describe us that you would normally hear ascribed to Him: Salt & Light. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are the flavor and the fuel to make this game of life all that it needs to be. Stop looking around to hand the ball to someone else; it has been placed right in our laps.

The awareness of the immensity of the responsibility that we have been given need not overwhelm us nor go to our heads. Rather, we are called today to appreciate that we have only been given the keys to the car for a time. Like Coach Capel, we will one day need to turn the team back over to the creator, and we had better be able to say that it has improved since we were in charge. That will only happen if we allow our light to shine brightly, and flavor the world with the salt that is our unique seasoning. Know, however, that my gifts are part of a bigger plan and come to me not of my own design, but by a greater designer. It is only when I fully appreciate that truth, that I can see my place in the history of the world and fully maximize my time at the helm.

I hope Coach K returns soon, but I am glad he has been able to entrust the team to so capable a person. I’m not sure when Christ will return, but I pray that you and I will be seen as equally capable, living up to the Salt & Light status that Jesus has been so trusting to believe us to be.

Peace,

Fr. Mike
fr.mike@duke.edu  c. 919-316-8763 / w. 919-684-1882
Follow me on Twitter @TheDukePriest