Sometimes it can be really hard to “hang in there” as a Christian. There are so many things which test us and it sometimes seems like we are going in a different direction from the world around us. That’s in part why St. Paul refers to us “fighting the good fight, running the race” or to compare the Christian life to a marathon rather than a sprint. If our lives were a sprint, it would be easier, we psych ourselves up, we train hard and then all that work will be put to the test and over in a flash. It’s not to imply sprinting is easy, but our theology and faith journey is more likened to a marathon. A marathon requires just as much training but then off we go and it seems at points and times along the way that it’s never going to end and most marathoner will tell you that their minds need to be sharp too because there are points along the way, even for the seasoned marathoner when you want to quit, give up, pack it in – but you know the end is greater than the beginning and the sense of what was accomplished is great and you push pass the weaknesses of our mind, overcome and when the marathon is over not only can we be amazed that our bodies endured, but also our minds. In our faith journey, we seek to give our bodies, minds and souls.
It’s not easy being Christian in this world when rarely do we get acknowledged positively for it, when it seems to annoy some and bother others that we believe there are moral absolutes, when we stand for something that many believe is irrelevant or archaic. We are not only tested in big ways as our brothers and sisters throughout the world are, where they experience blatant religious persecution and are killed or tortured for being Christian. We are tested in the society and world we live in here – where we seem to be always out of step with others. But just as a marathoner can’t have his or her coach run the race with them and for them, and there are periods along the way of abandon where we need to know what we’ve trained for will get us that next quarter mile or even to the next marker; so too must we trust that God Himself has not led us into the wilderness of life lived as a Christian, or to give ourselves in our vocation within that life of faith without reason, or without the gifts and strength to do it.
Our Gospel today provides us this point to ponder: we are going to have days along the Christian journey that are not the highlights or charismatic moments. They may not be the low points either. We are going to have “ordinary days” that is where the “rubber hits the road” and where our faith is really tested – how do we live by faith in the ordinariness of life? That’s what makes Ordinary Time in our liturgical cycle so important for us. It’s easy to be drawn close to the Birth of our Lord in Advent and Christmas; and to be reflective and penitential when we consider the Lord’s gift in Lent and through Easter – and we should do that. But what impact, what implication does that have for us day by day otherwise? Let us consider that today, as it’s one of those days. Let us hear the Lord ask us, “what have we done to show the world you are My Disciple today?”