Today I had the bright idea of heading out for a run. In Billerica today, it was sunny, humid and the temperature was over 80 degrees. But, there was a slight breeze. I figured a brief jog would help me get to know to the neighborhood a bit better. I left the rectory at a decent clip and soon was at road I had yet to be down, Pond Street. Pond Street is a great road for running along; it’s residential and has a nice, paved and level sidewalk. I ran down Pond Street at a slightly faster than usual pace–I run slow so others might have considered it a jog–for ten minutes or so. Then it hit me. I had been running for about a mile downhill. The run was easy, but now I had to turn around and make the arduous trek back up to Andover Street so I could get back to the rectory. Running back up the long hill, I noticed that the nice breeze was gone, the heat was more oppressive, the hill steeper, and my legs weaker. I couldn’t help but think how this was similar to how a pattern of sin or an addiction takes hold of a person. At first it doesn’t seem so bad, but the vice’s hold quickly tightens its grip on a person. By the time a person realizes that they are hooked, it is hard to break free–not impossible, but much effort is required. Just like running back up a hill in the heat of the day. This difference is, however, running up a hill does not require much personal sacrifice. Breaking free of an addiction or a pattern of repeated sin takes much personal sacrifice and great effort. For this reason we should always be sure to stamp out vice when it first rears its ugly head. Should a person find oneself seemingly trapped, he should not lose hope. God does not abandon us in our weakness. God gives us the grace we need to overcome even the biggest obstacle: ourselves.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.