Let’s look at the first reading, which is from Chapter 12 of the Letter to the Hebrews. Chapter 11 recounted all the marvelous deeds of Old Testament heroes. But, on putting that Chapter 11 behind us, we should consign its heroes, David, and Samson, Jephthah, and the others to their maker.
In their place we should give thought to our own heroes. We should picture the beloved faces of great teachers and priests we have known. We should see the faces of fine husbands and wives who have gone on after depriving themselves to see to the health, happiness and education of their children.
The marvelous Chapter Twelve of the Letter to the Hebrews asks us to find inspiration in those who have gone on. To encourage ourselves to live up to our responsibilities we should chant the opening paragraph of Chapter 12 with our minds fixed on our own “cloud of witnesses.”
When I was fifteen the translation we had back then went something like like.
“We. therefore, having such a cloud of witnesses before us, let us put aside every sin encumbering us; and run with patience to the fight set before us, looking forward to the author and finisher of faith, Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and sits at the right hand of the throne of God.
“Consider how he endured such opposition in his struggle against sin, so that you might not grow weary and lose heart; for in your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood; and you have forgotten the admonition addressed to you as sons, ‘Do not neglect the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are corrected by him; for whom, the lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son he receives’”.