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Remember a few years ago when the Red Sox were in last place? Sports writers criticized the players for their lack energy and effort. Fans were furious because they had to pay the highest price for Major League Baseball tickets only to see the team fold and lose every game. Five months later, thousands of happy fans walk by my church on their way to the game on opening day. They were all smiling and proudly wearing their Red Sox hats and sweatshirts. They all looked excited about going to the game. I thought to myself, don’t these people remember that the team last season was in last place in the division, and that they suffered the greatest collapse in baseball history? Why are they happy? Because it is opening day. It is a new start. Last year’s record is no longer relevant.
Let me ask you this: Who won the Super Bowl six years ago? The Baltimore Ravens. I only know that because I had to look it up. But does anybody really care who won the Super Bowl six years ago? Does anyone care that Wes Welker of the New England Patriots dropped the ball that year on a third and long at the end of the fourth quarter during the AFC championships, and our Patriots did not advance to the Super Bowl? No. Why? Because the Patriots have won four Super Bowls since then.
Who is the happiest team at the end of the football season? That is an easy answer: The Super Bowl winners. Who is the second happiest team at the end of the football season? It is not the losers of the Super Bowl — they are not very happy. The second happiest team is the last place team; it is the team with the worst record. That is because they will have the best draft picks. Fans, who wore paper bags over their heads because they were embarrassed to be associated with losers, are now happy they are putting together a new team.
The leaders of the people bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. The men want to trap Jesus and have him killed. I would say that is a terrible sin. The whole group is guilty of sin, but Jesus, who is reflecting divine mercy and kindness, lets them all go. So what is the difference between the men who were plotting the death of the Son of God and the woman caught in adultery? The men leave very unhappy because their trap was foiled. The woman, however, goes very happy because she gets a new start, a new life, a new beginning. Everyone is happy on opening day.
In the story, Jesus writes in the sand. Scholars have been scratching their heads for years trying to figure out what Jesus wrote. If Jesus sent an e-mail, we might have been able to retrieve it from the internet cloud. But Jesus wrote in the sand, and the record is gone. Which means there is a new start.
Here is the point of the story. We who follow Christ are in a perpetual state of absolute happiness because we live in a kingdom where every day is opening day. There are no old stats to make us sad, no bad track record to depress us. The past is erased making way for a new start. Everyone likes new things. We like new clothes, fresh paint, and new cars. Yes, we have a way of messing things up, but with Christ, we always get a new start. We should live every day as if we are beginning again. Live like every day is opening day. That is why we should always be happy.Back to All Homilies