What a difference a year makes: There is no joy in Billiken-ville this season, courtesy of the fact that my favorite hoopsters completed their trek from first to worst in the Atlantic 10.
It’s small consolation that my misery had company, as none of the Division I programs in the state managed to punch their ticket to the Big Dance in 2015.
I did notice, however, that I felt positively liberated late yesterday afternoon. I wasted not one minute waiting for CBS to post the tournament pairings on the screen.
I didn’t fret for a moment about what seeding ‘my guys’ had earned…or where the tournament selection committee (in its infinite wisdom) would be sending the Billikens this year to play their first-round game.
An RPI of 272 (out of 351) will do that for you. It takes absolutely all the suspense out of Selection Sunday. You know you’re not going anywhere. You haven’t earned it. You don’t deserve a spot in the Promised Land.
And since I had a little extra time on my hands Sunday evening, I found that I could spend it fruitfully – by marveling just how different things are in the kingdom of heaven…compared to the realm of big-time college hoops.
Take the selection criteria, for instance.
The ball’s pretty much in your court – not in the hands of an unseen (but omnipotent) panel of judges. As we heard in the gospel reading yesterday:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
Jesus, it seems, stands ready to do most of the heavy lifting. Your job, my job, is simply to believe…because ‘whoever believes in Him will not be condemned…’
And as for that Won-Loss record? It might sting for a while, but it doesn’t seem to play all that prominently in the eternal scheme of things. As St. Paul assures us, we might be ‘dead in our transgressions’ and yet still we are saved by ‘the immeasurable riches of [Christ’s] grace.’
Even should our tournament bubble burst on Selection Sunday, nothing can rob us of our worthiness – ‘For we are [God’s] handiwork, created in Christ Jesus…’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.
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