Our family decided to spend the July 4th weekend in Houston, and we usually plan this trip to the Space City when the Astros are in town. We decided to attend a Friday night game because our ticket came with a fireworks show afterwards.

Dominican-born Cristian Javier pitched a terrific game for the Astros, allowing just a couple of hits, and we won the game over the LA Angels by a score of 8-1. My wife, Dulce, and I met in Houston back in the 90s, and they have become our favorite team. Dulce is from Venezuela, and the Astros have All-Star Jose Altuve on their club, a dynamic player from the same South American country.

Make it a Spiritual Doubleheader

Right next to Minute Maid Park, a big banner caught our attention. It said, “Make it a Spiritual Doubleheader.”

The banner belonged to The Church of the Annunciation, a parish dating to 1869. Although we went to the game on Friday, the marketing did the trick, and we decided to make the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday before returning to San Antonio.

Acceptance is Not the End Game

We arrived about 10 minutes before Mass, and we found good seating near the front. The old-style architecture was beautiful. The use of incense, which is smoke symbolizing sanctification and purification, was evident.

Fr. Felix had a well-prepared homily focused on the importance of service and discipleship.

He caught my attention when he said, “We must remember that, in life, acceptance is not the end game.”

This message was timely for me. While searching for acceptance from others, there are many times when I prioritize material things over the stuff that really matters. However, my faith, family, and friends are truly the most important to me.

The material items, such as a fancy car or a luxury watch, will only bring temporary pleasure. However, the love I receive from God and loved ones is everlasting.

Applying it at Work

During the past year or so, I’ve been doing a better job of applying what I learn from Sunday Mass. I’m embarrassed to admit that, for many years, going to church was simply an appointment I needed to make during the week.

Here are some ways we can apply Fr. Felix’s message in the workplace:

  • For most people, we are focused on individual performance. We want to standout and out-perform our co-workers. When it works as we intend, we are more likely to receive a promotion, and the cycle continues. Instead, let’s focus on a collectivist approach where teamwork matters. When we help our fellow employees succeed in their work, we promote the value of service and are less concerned about acceptance.
  • Let’s manage with empathy and love. There are far too many managers today who want to impress others with their position of power. It makes them feel good to be tough on their employees. Instead, it’s best to look for opportunities to help the employees succeed. A good first step is to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person. As Fr. Felix eloquently noted, serving others means we are practicing the beauty of discipleship.

During Covid, I have attended quite a few funerals. I’ve noticed that when the Lord calls us home, none of our material gains are on display.

Instead, the people who attend those few hours of remembrance are the ones who cared and loved us despite our faults, even if we did not have a dollar to our name.