A New USC Mascot?

A New USC Mascot?
 

If he wanted to, Steve Spurrier could change his team's customs. 

He could decide that the team would wear a different type of helmet, or he could even urge the university to change its mascot!  But he could not decree that home games would now be played on an ice rink or that the ball would now be shaped like a soccer ball and kicked around the field. 

Clearly, there are many customs and practices surrounding football which are not essential to the sport, such as a team's mascot or uniform design.  Such traditions develop over time and can be refined and changed according to the needs of the teams and fans. But on the other hand, there are many aspects which are essential to football, like the field and the ball.  If we were to change these essentials, we would change the game into an entirely different sport. 

A similar distinction exists in Christianity.  God himself entered into our midst as Jesus of Nazareth, and while on earth he taught us everything that we need for our happiness and salvation.  These are the "essentials" of the Christian faith.  While our understanding of these truths deepens through the centuries, the teachings themselves can never be abandoned or changed, since they were revealed by God himself. 

But just as football can be " lived out” in many different was, so too there are many different ways for Christians to express and live their faith. These customs and practices develop over time, in response to our needs and experiences. All Christian groups have these sorts of traditions, whether Catholic or not. For example, we worship on Sunday instead of the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, and we celebrate the Lord's birthday on December 25 with presents. These two traditions are not prescribed explicitly in Scripture, but we practice them because we find them good and helpful in our walk with Christ. 

When Jesus speaks harshly of tradition in Matthew 15, he is not condemning religious traditions in general but rather corrupt religious practices. For example, he mentions that people are donating money to the Jewish temple instead of taking care of their parents; this is a practice that is contrary to God's will and therefore needs to be abandoned.  But Jesus certainly approves of good religious traditions; after all, he taught the disciples the Lord's Prayer and he commanded them to repeat the Last Supper.  So the question is not whether Christians will have religious traditions, but rather, "Is this particular practice in accord with the faith, and is it helpful in my walk with Christ?" 

The Catholic Church has been faithfully preserving and proclaiming the truths of Christianity throughout the centuries, with a richness of religious traditions drawn from two thousand years of living the Christian faith.  If you would like to learn more about particular Catholic practices, please feel free to give us a call or visit CatholicBridge.com.  And if you're Catholic and have been away for a while we would like to welcome you home. 

 

 

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