Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10; Psalm 40:2-4,18; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53)
Running and Finishing Well the Race of Life
Persevere in running the race.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who holds the record as the fastest person ever. Nicknamed the “Lightning Bolt,” he has won many Olympic gold medals and World Championships. Like Bolt, many top athletes in the world dedicate countless hours to working out, training, and eating right to obtain their dreams. They make many sacrifices in their time and activities so that they can stay focused on the prize.
Do you consider yourself a Christian athlete running the greatest race of your life? Well, that’s what you are. Right now, countless angels and saints, along with Jesus and your heavenly Father, are cheering you on. They want to see you win. They have faith and hope that you can do it, too! What’s more, you’re not alone. A huge community of believers is running with you, all reaching for the prize together.
During the race, Jesus wants you to know him not only as the Savior and Messiah but as your best friend and trainer! And to help you run, he wants you to receive his own strength and power, his own encouragement and excitement. He also wants to see you strengthen your spiritual muscles as you lend a helping hand, encourage someone who is downcast, and reach out to share God’s word along the way. He wants to help you be free from the self-righteousness, moodiness, and impatience that can bog you down so that you can soar with eagles’ wings!
Just remember one thing: This is a marathon, not a sprint! So pace yourself. Don’t think you’ll attain your goal overnight—or even in the course of one year. Day after day, Jesus has mapped out a certain portion of the course for you to run. That’s all you need to worry about. Just keep your eyes fixed on him, and you’ll find yourself marking mile after mile after joyful mile. Then, at just the right time, he’ll be there at the finish line, waiting to hand you your crown.
“I am here to win the race Lord! Crown me with your glory!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, Jeremiah is persecuted for prophesying the truth to the king, and all the people, that Jerusalem would be overthrown by the Chaldean army. Have you ever been persecuted or attacked for speaking the truth, especially when it was not popular with the listeners? How did you respond to the attacks?
- In the responsorial psalm, the psalmist cries out to the Lord with an unwavering trust and faith in him as his “help” and “deliverer.” Was there ever a time when you cried out to the Lord in a difficult situation to be your help and deliverer? What were the results?
- The second reading states that “For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” The author of Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus did this “in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart,” especially in our “struggle against sin.” In what way does knowing that Jesus Christ endured the cross and shed his blood for your sins, help you in your “struggle against sin”?
- In the Gospel, Jesus speaks these words, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” How do you understand these words, especially since Jesus is called the Prince of Peace?
- The meditation poses the following question: “Do you consider yourself a Christian athlete running the greatest race of your life?” How would you answer this question? Do you agree with the answer given: “Well, that’s what you are.” Why or why not?
- The meditation ends with these words: “Day after day, Jesus has mapped out a certain portion of the course for you to run. That’s all you need to worry about. Just keep your eyes fixed on him, and you’ll find yourself marking mile after mile after joyful mile. Then, at just the right time, he’ll be there at the finish line, waiting to hand you your crown.” What do these words mean to you? What steps can you take to spend some time each day in order to keep your “eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith”?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to persevere in running and winning the race of life he has given you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.