As Lent recedes and we approach Holy Week and Easter, the question arises to what extent have we benefited—have we changed or been changed—by the messages we have read or heard from Scripture or in Liturgy, by the graces of the sacraments, by the disciplines, or through our walking together with our fellow Christians on this Lenten journey? Maybe the best way to know is to re-examine the end to which the Lenten journey is taking us. Certainly in this case we think of Easter morning and the resurrection, but even this gift of God’s love has a greater end. This is what we will be discussing this morning on Deep In Scripture!
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? –“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled;
16 that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.