Zephyrs, Beltway Battles, and Old St. Nick

Gimmicks with the uniform are never a good idea
Gimmicks with the uniform are never a good idea

Things had gotten so bad (3-13 record) that the Wizards decided to come in disguise to play the Lakers at the Verizon Center last night.

Then, amazingly, they almost beat my man Kobe and Co.!

Almost. The Wizards/Zephyrs are now 3-14. Kobe saved the game for the Lakers after a “valiant effort” in the fourth-quarter by the Wiz, as Phil Chenier put it.

kobe2Meanwhile, this weekend offers us not one but two Beltway Battles.

Today at 1:00, the Georgetown Hoyas have their second Beltway Battle in a row.

Last Sunday in Florida, they clubbed the Maryland Terps.

This afternoon at the Verizon Center, they will club American University Eagles.

And tomorrow evening in Baltimore? Will the Redskins emerge from the valley of the shadow of death? Hope springs eternal. “I will fear no evil.”

May it please God that the game doesn’t come down to a Shaun Suisham field goal attempt. My brother wants me to start a “Dump Suisham” campaign on this blog. I would do it, except for the fact that it was raining, after all, when Suisham’s miss killed the Skin’s momentum at the end of the first half against the Giants.

redskins-ravensSo, we have an interesting 36 hours ahead of us. …And, to top it all off: Today is Santa Claus’ Feast Day!

St. Nicholas was a bishop in Myra in Asia Minor (now Turkey). He confessed the Christian faith when threatened with death during the persecution of Diocletian . He was one of the Fathers of the Council of Nicea, which gave us the orthodox profession of faith.

St. Nicholas was originally entombed in Asia Minor, but when the Muslims took over that part of the world, the saint’s relics were moved to Bari, Italy.

About a month after being elected to the See of St. Peter, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI made his first trip outside the Vatican. In May of 2005, he went on pilgrimage to Bari, where he visited St. Nicholas’ tomb. The Pope also paid homage to the 49 martyrs of Abitene, Tunisia, who gave their lives rather than skip Sunday Mass. They were killed across the sea from Bari, during the same persecution in which St. Nicholas risked his life. In his homily that day, the Pope said:

Our chosen theme – “Without Sunday we cannot live” – takes us back to the year 304, when the Emperor Diocletian forbade Christians, on pain of death, from possessing the Scriptures, from gathering on Sundays to celebrate the Eucharist and from building places in which to hold their assemblies.

Icon of St. Nicholas
Icon of St. Nicholas
In Abitene, a small village in present-day Tunisia, 49 Christians were taken by surprise one Sunday while they were celebrating the Eucharist, gathered in the house of Octavius Felix, thereby defying the imperial prohibitions. They were arrested and taken to Carthage to be interrogated by the Proconsul Anulinus.

Significant among other things is the answer a certain Emeritus gave to the Proconsul who asked him why on earth they had disobeyed the Emperor’s severe orders. He replied: “Sine dominico non possumus”: that is, we cannot live without joining together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face our daily problems and not to succumb.

After atrocious tortures, these 49 martyrs of Abitene were killed. Thus, they confirmed their faith with bloodshed. They died, but they were victorious: today we remember them in the glory of the Risen Christ.

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