Last week I preached on the first rule of the spiritual life: say Yes to God and No to the enemy. If we want to succeed at our Lenten Spring Training, we need to listen to our coach. Today’s readings tell us that Abram listened to God’s voice and did as the Lord directed him. We hear the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” You could not ask for a clearer message. Jesus is our coach and he coaches us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Listen to your coach.
How do you know that you have a good coach? We evaluate coaches based on their track record, quite literally. Coaches themselves were often players. Did he or she make records on the track, or perform well at their chosen sport? A coach with a good track record proves they know how to play the game. We also look at the coach’s own history of being coached as a player. If an athlete was coached by the best, if he or she received world-class training, they can pass that training on to their students. Sometimes we also depend on good genetics — the children of great athletes are expected to be great themselves, especially if their parents were also great coaches. Finally, there is the coach’s record as a coach. If he or she helped good athletes become great, that gives you confidence that they can also help you.
The readings from the Second Sunday of Lent are telling us that we can trust Jesus to coach us. His ‘track record’ is amazing. He, “destroyed death and brought life to light through the gospel.” Last week we watched him brilliantly overturn the temptations of Satan. This guy knows how to be human, and has lived the most amazing human life ever lived. He has a great ‘track record.’ Secondly, he was coached by the best. Moses and Elijah appear and they are conversing with him. Moses was the great lawgiver who brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Elijah is the great prophet who heard God’s voice, defeated the 450 prophets of Baal, and called Israel back to the Covenant. These guys are all-stars, and they’re the ones coaching Jesus. Third, Jesus is the Father’s Son. You don’t get better genetics then that. Finally, we see God’s record on display in the call of Abram. It was God who led Abram out of his homeland to become the Patriarch of the Israelite people.
We know that Jesus has an amazing ‘track record’ too when it comes to making saints. All the saints were coached by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is offering us this same world-class coaching. We are all given the teachings of the Church, the blessing of the Sacraments, and the guidance of the Bible. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit. Live in the Spirit, listen to God’s beloved Son, and you will accomplish great things too.