Reflection: Tuesday of the 31st Week

Mass: Tuesday, November 3, 2009
First Reading: Rom 12:5-16ab
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 131:1bcde, 2, 3
Gospel: Lk 14:15-24

Sam Bowie. Kwame Brown. Ryan Leaf. What do they have in common? And what do they have to do with today’s scriptures?

For those who aren’t familiar with NBA or NFL trivia, here are some clues. Sam Bowie was selected as the No. 2 NBA draft pick in 1984 by the Portland Trailblazers who passed on Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton—three of the top 50 NBA players of all-time. Sam Bowie played in 10 injury-filled years in the NBA but was never selected as an all-star nor won a championship.

Kwame Brown was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NBA draft, selected ahead of all-stars Pau Gasol (who won a championship with the Lakers this past summer), Tony Parker (who has three NBA rings, an NBA Finals MVP and Eva Longoria) and Gilbert Arenas (who is considered an all-star and franchise player with the Washington Wizards). Kwame Brown today is a backup for the Detroit Pistons.

Ryan Leaf, the Washington State quarterback who led the Cougars to the Rose Bowl for the first time in over 70 years was selected No. 2 in the 1998 NFL draft ahead of Charles Woodson, Randy Moss and a dozen other Pro-Bowlers. His career lasted only four years, marked by injuries, poor performance and  poor relationship with his teammates.

These three are considered as the three of the biggest draft busts in NBA and NFL history. Great talent in college and high school, loads of potential but unfortunate situations hampered their careers.

So what do they have to do with today’s readings?

The scriptures remind us today of our giftedness—blessed by God who freely gives us not only the gift of peace as stated in the responsorial psalm, but also individual gifts and talents to make a positive impact on our world.

The lesson in today’s Gospel reminds us that while God blesses us with numerous gifts, it is up to us to take action. Unlike those who make excuses and refuse to attend the dinner they were invited to, we are called to develop our gifts and make a positive impact on our world with our unique contributions.

This new day gives us another opportunity to do this by sharing a simple and kind gesture to others; offering an affirming remark; working to be the best student we can be in our classes; striving to be the best mentor or teacher in our classrooms; and being a brother to all whom we meet today.

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