Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12)

These days people from all around the world are participating in or watching the Olympics. We see great athletes from every nation competing in the games and races. The prize: a gold medal, and honor for their country. Today the author of Hebrews is exhorting his readers, and us, to persevere in another kind of race: the race of faith. Running the race of faith means we run away from, or around, those things, attitudes or people who are obstacles to faith; we are also to avoid sin, selfishness, laziness, greed, hatred, violence, jealousy, etc. We must also maintain a healthy “diet”: daily prayer and reading God’s Word (the Bible), weekly (or even daily) Mass attendance; and good spiritual friends or coaches, who help us stay on the right path; finally, we keep our eyes fixed on the goal: Jesus Christ. We keep our eyes on Jesus by having a close intimate relationship with him through prayer, and keeping our heart filled with love for him, rather than for the things of the world.