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Finish the Race
Sunday, January 08 2012

It's Not How You Start...

It's all about how you finish:

"Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God's grace." -Acts 20:24 NAB

We are just beginning a new year.  As you reflect upon last year, think of where you began and where you finished.  Can you say that you were in a better place in your life at the end of the year than you were at the beginning?  Did you finish the race well?

When I write these things each week, I choose them based on real experiences from my life.  Today, what struck me was something we commonly see at Mass.  Someone shows up for church, sits through Mass, but bolts out the door just after the Eucharist.  Instead of finishing the race, they quit early.  Somehow, they can justify this by the extra couple of minutes they save in the parking lot.

If we struggle to finish these smaller races each week, how can we expect to finish the longer ones?  Mass is a one hour sprint each week, but life itself is a marathon.  It takes a true endurance of faith to live the Christian life, but we are given strength through the Holy Spirit to finish any race- regardless of how long it may be.

Any long distance runner will tell you that you cannot simply focus on the finish line.  Instead, we should break up the race into smaller distances, such as Mass each week.  For each leg of the race, we should focus on finishing as strong as possible.  Eventually, a series of successful legs will add up to one, quality marathon.  Then, only as we near the finish line itself, we can focus on finishing well.

Each day, focus on keeping Christ at the center of your life.  Each week, ensure that you set time aside for God.  Each month, be one step further along in your journey.  Eventually, when the end of the year comes, you will be amazed at how far you have come.  In ten years, your life will be radically different.  That is how you go from luke warm church attendee to devoted, practicing, faith-filled Catholic.

One last note.  Where would we be if Jesus Christ quit His race just a bit early?

 

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