The readings today are about rejection and success. Jerusalem rejected Jeremiah, and Nazareth rejected Jesus. St. John the Baptist could be our patron saint of graceful failure. Sending his followers off to Jesus he said, “He must increase, while I must decrease.”
While watching the swimming in the Olympics, with everyone else I rejoiced with the winners. I was impressed with the way each thanked parents and coaches. Then, my attention was caught by each of the losing swimmers. They were left treading water at the side of the pool they had been slow in reaching. They might remind you of an Emily Dickenson poem.
Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.
Not one of the purple host who took the flag today
Can tell the definition so clear of victory
As he, defeated, dying, on whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph break agonized and clear.
The Vatican has its daily newsletter, and the other day it mentioned some of our successes. The gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin spoke of her joy at transferring to a Catholic school where she spends time with God in the chapel.
The gold medal gymnast Jordyn Wieber spoke of how her Catholic family stuck close to her through years of practice, keeping her faith alive.
Track star Lopez Lomong spoke of his indebtedness to Catholic Charities. They rescued him when he was on the run from a Sudanese prison camp where the boys around him were dying.