Last week, a fellow suffering N.Y. Mets fan sent me a link to an article entitled “Does God Hate the Mets?” Being passionate about the game I love and having little to “do” as I sat in the hospital waiting room “waiting” word of the outcome to JoAnne’s surgery, I began to reflect theologically about such an issue. My conclusions are not as one-sided as I had imagined.
First of all, beware of anyone who dares to speak for God! If you read through the marvelous and haunting text of the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, you soon learn that too many presume to speak for their God and are really only mouthing their own prejudices and presumptions.
Secondly, the notion of God choosing any sporting event in which to invest God’s time is a bit troubling. Now I would not ever dare inform the Holy Trinity that they shouldn’t have some time off, but think about it: how many issues are there in our world that we humans have so totally screwed up that perhaps God needs to be more directly involved since we can’t seem to get out of our own way. Not quite enough time in any day to waste settling the not-so-serious questions of whether Michael or LeBron is the greatest player of all time.
Now here’s an argument against God’s involvement with sports. Where God is, there is justice! In sports, justice is never assured. Why is it that the better team does not always win? Why have the Yankees won so many championships and my Mets have won 2, and if not for a freak error by a Red Sox first baseman in 1986, that number would be 1. Why do professional athletes make zillions of dollars and those who teach our children or care for our sick or clean our buildings make so little?
On the other hand, where God is, there is Love! In fact, God is love (so St. John wrote more than once). The love of the competition, the love of pushing oneself beyond what is comfortable or what we think we can do, the love of the community which is the team, the love of the challenge, the love of the journey even if not always fulfilled in being seen as “the best” – they are but pale shadows of the love that God has for us and which we are called to have for all who cross our path. I can see God, the source of all truth and love smiling upon athletic competition.
So do I think God hates the Mets? I think I’ll let you try to figure that out.