While I admire his decision on spiritual grounds and found it courageous and noble and such, it seems either he didn’t know recreation is allowed on Sunday or he thought of the game as a job, which is sad if it’s a love. Both seem to me to be foolish notions. Was running in the Olympics even a job in the first place?
I think it was a personal decision on his part, rather than obedience to a church. He was representing his country which while not a job was not necessarily recreation either.
Eric must have considered his running in the Olympics for his country a strenuous job rather than a light form of recreation. When you think about it, participating in the Olympics as a runner requires very, very hard, strenuous labor and is not light recreation. Eric must have considered it hard work (which it is), which would place him beyond our reproach in light of the Third Commandment. He went with his conscience and heart and did what he thought Our Lord expected of him, even if running brought him great joy. (BTW, shopping gives people great joy and even recreation, but we are still prohibited from shopping on Sundays by God’s Law.) Eric wanted to please God and did not want to violate his conscience or God’s Commandments – a very commendable thing for someone who I am sure enjoyed running in races and enjoyed winning them a whole lot. I just thought of something, Eric probably did not even want any glory for himself on Our Lord’s day, glory which he would have obtained as runner and winner of his race – he probably wanted all the glory of the day to be to the Lord God Almighty. God bless you.
I could go with the latter theory, but still think, if it’s such a labor, he shouldn’t do it. It should be fun, like kids playing. As for shopping, you can walk around for fun or buy something of necessity for that day (like jumpers, if your car won’t start, but you can walk to a store that sells them), but compulsive buyers should not. Is it a scandal? It could be at face value. Maybe people shouldn’t judge, but there is the danger of showing a bad example by being there, especially to impressionable minds. I would like to think God would work it out for those who need to buy something and those who see they’re Christians (maybe the kid might grow up, remember that and realize the person might be a 7th Day Adventist or he might have to buy something on a Sunday).
As for the glory of God on Sunday being unnecessarily shared, I have to wonder about readers and musicians at Mass. Altar servers carrying out functions in public are a must for regular attendance Mass, but I think the others could read in a less visible space, like the musicians being in the choir loft and readers being given a head piece microphone reading in their pew in the front (though they are just reading). Consciously, maybe they want to be serving others, but be tempted to want notice. Getting clapped for or acknowledged is a sad novelty these days for another getting praise at Mass.
I’m sure Eric found running to be very fun, but his running a race on Sunday would have entailed hard work for him on Our Lord’s day, hard work that he wouldn’t mind doing on other days of the week – after all, hard work is good, unless it is done on Sundays. God bless you.
I don’t know that it was just about it being work - it may also have been about the fact that competing in the Olympics is generally more about personal/national fame and notoriety and glory than any more godly aim, and so perhaps he felt that such was particularly inappropriate on the Lord’s day.