Can March Madness Teach Us Something About Lent?

by | Mar 6, 2020 | Formation, Reflections

March Madness!

Even non-basketball fans have seen the TV buzz each year around what is called “March Madness.”

There are many ways of describing March Madness.

  • The month that has huge financial implications for so many whether the TV networks or the educational institutions that get a greater share of the TV revenue depending upon how far they advance in the tournament.
  • A few weeks that can be the shining or even defining, moment in a collegian’s career and sometimes even their future.
  • A time when it is inevitable for losers to come to terms with the disappointment
  • Even a time when many have to cope with not making the tournament at all.

But what lessons can we learn from this cultural phenomenon?

Let me offer a few possibilities looking at it through lens of goals…

  • Reaching goals doesn’t just happen. It takes commitment and work.
  • It takes teamwork to move forward.
  • Reaching goals requires coaching

Lent – What is the goal of Lent – giving things up or waking up?

My favorite way of looking at Lent is not so much as a time of “giving up” things such as foods or drinks. Certainly not a time for cajoling God. I see Lent as a time “waking up.” Especially waking up to the presence of God in my life and coming to a deeper understanding of how Christ is present in my life after the resurrection.

If it makes sense that Lent is a time of waking up to the presence of God in my life, the lessons of “March Madness” can apply.

Waking up to the presence of the resurrected Christ in my life today requires a clear understanding of and a desire for recognizing that Christ lived not just 2000 years ago but today… in my life, family neighborhood and world today.

With that goal in mind I need to

  • Commit myself to that goal by taking off the blinders that keep me focused on myself and blind to the needs of the least of my brothers and sisters.
  • Realize that we are all working toward the same goal and that church a not a building but building community
  • Listen to a good coach and coaching staff

Think of what Jesus, our head coach by his words and example, in the sermon on the Mount or explaining the last judgment, Think of those who have lived their lives according to the coaches – Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Catherine Laboure, Frederick Ozanam, Rosalie Rendue, Elizabeth Ann Seton, etc.


Implications for those who would walk in the footsteps of Vincent and Louise

  • See ourselves in the stories and teaching of Scripture.
  • Acknowledge both when we live accordingly and when we don’t



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