Our reflection today is by Fr.Tom Cahill
The legendary Greek, Pheidippides, ran the first marathon in 490 bc. Running 40km from Marathon to Athens, he brought the good news of Persian defeat. Unfortunately he overdid it and dropped dead. Besides his good-news message, he brought another too, albeit unintended: if you run a marathon, prepare for it. You have to train a lot. You have to sacrifice time and comfort. And you must be able to cope with physical stress and endure pain. Yet each year more than 800 marathons are held worldwide. That means that several hundreds of thousands of people run 42.195 km in what is considered to be recreational running.
In today's Second Reading (2 Tim 4:6-8) Paul says that he has fought the good fight and finished the race. Neither is recreational. The distance he covers is not measured in kilometres, miles or any such units. It's measured in terms of spiritual maturity. The units used to measure this distance are: faith, witness and proclamation. His, as ours, is not a race that covers distance. It covers time, and life's experiences both good and bad. It covers advances and retreats, ups and downs, and the about turns we make in life. It covers the walls we face that block our progress to God. It has its highs too: the exhilaration of insight, the thrill of hope's promises, the calm of a clear conscience, the peace of mind from goodness shown and the security of God's love.
This good news is worth dying for. Paul did so. This is not Greek legend.