Run the Race

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest
September 9, 2022

May we begin today with a prayer of gratitude and respect
for the remarkable life of service of

Queen Elizabeth II

sketch for the Queen’s Jubilee by Eleanor Tomlinson

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, there is a powerful urgency in Paul’s preaching.

Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race,
but only one wins the prize?
Run so as to win.
Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.
They do it to win a perishable crown,
but we an imperishable one.
Thus I do not run aimlessly;
I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.
No, I drive my body and train it,
for fear that, after having preached to others,
I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Let’s face it: Paul must have been a seriously intense guy. I mean look at his life! Early on, he took it on himself to personally go around “murderously” persecuting Christians. He got knocked off his high horse in a bolt from heaven, was struck blind, cured, and converted. This man did not live a laid-back life!

Conversion of Paul – Caravaggio

In today’s scripture, Paul tells the Corinthians to have an equal passion in living out their Christian faith. He describes his own complete dedication and chosen sacrifices to live and preach Christ’s message, saying:

All this I do for the sake of the Gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

In our Gospel, Jesus says that to live the faith sincerely, we must be rid of anything that blinds us. Paul got his corrected vision in a lightning induced horse-fall. Maybe we need similar drama to achieve ours. Or maybe we just need to consistently place our judgements, beliefs, passions, and convictions before God humbly asking for the grace of discernment.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
“Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’”
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

Poetry: The Racer – John Masefield

And as he landed I beheld his soul
Kindle, because, in front, he saw the Straight
With all its thousands roaring at the goal,
He laughed, he took the moment for his mate.
I saw the racer coming to the jump,
Staring with fiery eyeballs as he rusht,
I heard the blood within his body thump,
I saw him launch, I heard the toppings crusht.
Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.
And laugh like him and know in all our nerves
Beauty, the spirit, scattering dust and turves.

Music: Chariots of Fire – Vangelis

God bless Queen Elizabeth II
who has faithfully run the race.
May she rest in peace.

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