Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One Hit Away Foundation: Something Beautiful for God

No matter what he did in His public ministry—be it healing the sick, standing in solidarity with the poor or challenging authority, Jesus was always teaching. And for some reason, the parable of the "Cleansing of the Ten Lepers" has offered a lesson that I have never forgotten. It's hard not to, because if you pay attention to human nature, you will see just how true it is.

In Luke 17: 11-19, we learn:
As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met [him]. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.

A response rate of one in ten isn't very good. Jesus dramatically changed their lives and 90% of them moved on. See the painting above for a strong mental image. Further probing into this story reveals that the one who returned to extend gratitude is the least likely of them all—a Samaritan. 


Maybe the truth of this parable resonates with you. Too often, we forget to say "thank you." Let Jesus' lesson serve as a reminder of who you can be.

In the past 10 years, I have written countless articles on athletes and folks doing the work of Sports and Spirituality. I am always grateful for the gift of their time, and make sure they hear me say that. I never submit a piece for publication without their review and approval. It is an honor for me to share their story. But, it is their story—not mine that gets told. 

Over time, I have realized that the motto that guides story telling is one that governed the life of Mother Teresa. She all asked us to do something beautiful for God. My sincere hope is that what I write and share is a reflection of beauty. I believe that each of us can let our life be something beautiful for God. I do. 

Perhaps that is why when asked to write another piece on Darren and Brett CdeBaca, I jumped at the chance. To share their story is a chance for me to offer something beautiful for God. It also reveals the truth of Christ's parable in a positive way.


Darren and his son Brett are the 10%. In the Spring 2010 edition of Genesis, the alumni magazine of St. Ignatius College Prep where I teach, I was excited to share that they were the first father-son recipients of the highest honor offered by SI’s football program: the JB Murphy Award. After interviewing them together, they immediately thanked me for meeting with them. When the story went to print, they reached out again. Darren told me how grateful he was to have so many former teammates and members of the SI community contact them. They might not have if they hadn't read their story. I still appreciate the note I received from Darren and his wife Jill when Brett graduated. They thanked all of the teachers who helped shape their two sons into "men for and with others." I'm lucky—I got to teach both of them!

To me, the CdeBaca's live a motto that is one St. Paul wrote in a letter to the Colossians "Dedicate yourselves to gratitude."

This past Fall, I met with Darren and Brett again to learn about their latest adventure, a profile piece on their nonprofit "One Hit Away." I will let the story speak for itself. It takes what was a painful and trialling time for Brett and his parents and says, how can we make this into, yes, something beautiful for God . Please read it here.
Co-founders of "One Hit Away"
We sat down with our director of communications for an hour long interview. One day later, Darren and Brett each thanked us for our time. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as the story came to ink, he wrote the following:
To be on Page 50 in the 50th Anniversary Issue is somewhat serendipitous!  It is friends and supporters like you that make our mission meaningful for many.  This type of acknowledgement and distribution within the SI Community is fabulous and we certainly do not take it for granted by any measure.  Jill and I are so grateful.  Our best to both of you and your families!
And it should come as no surprise, a few hours later I received a message from Brett, again, thanking us for our support.  

So let this blog serve a two-fold purpose. Aim to be the 10%. And in whatever you do for which people are grateful, make it something beautiful for God. As my colleague Fr. Fran always says "no time for any less."

Photo Credits
Ten Lepers, One Says Thanks

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