Our first reading today begins Chapter Twelve of the Letter to the Hebrews. Chapter Eleven gave us a summary of how their trust in God empowered each hero and heroine of the Old Testament to endure challenges. They were tortured, mocked; one was even sawed in two, but their faith in God enabled them to conquer all.
Now, with Chapter Twelve, moving pass that cloud of witnesses, we come to the example of how his faith in God enabled Jesus to triumph. With one look back at the saints honored in that last chapter, Chapter Twelve exultantly opens by saying, “And we, having such a cloud of witnesses before us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin entangling us, and run with patience to the fight set before us.”
Then, we move on to Christ. “We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising shame, and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I don’t know about schools today, but when people like me were there, a good bit of our school work consisted of memorizing poetry and the verses of the Bible. I have often found welcome support in recalling lines I learned as a kid. I bring this up here, because this Chapter Twelve of Hebrew’s has some fine sentences for you to tuck away in your memory for use on a rainy day.