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Today’s gospel passage immediately made me think of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”—Matthew 5: 23-25 Why did this passage make me think of these two hall of fame basketball players? It is a widely known fact that Kobe and Shaq clashed when they were teammates on the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. Despite their contentious personal differences, Shaq’s devastated emotional state became a highly covered news topic where he often described that Kobe’s death felt like a “triple stabbing to the chest”. Shaq’s huge regret in not being able to ever talk to Kobe just one last time to tell him how much he cared about him makes his teammate’s loss even more difficult for him to cope with. Shaq said, “I just wish I could be able to say one last thing to the people that we lost because once you’re gone, you’re gone forever and we should never take stuff like that for granted.” Kobe was born to lead. On and off the court, Kobe served as a mentor to many. Even now after his untimely death, Kobe continues to teach us that we must never take anything for granted and that we should free our souls of the toxic feelings that weigh us down (hatred, resentment, jealousy, greed, materialism, etc...) because if we do not, we just may lose our one and only chance to say “I apologize” to those around you. Edgar J. Guzman, AMDG

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