Have you ever run a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon or even a full marathon? You train for months, modifying your routine, and before you know, it is race day. Many of the races start early in the day as dawn breaks and it's then that all of the runners are laser-focused. They are focused on the race, the ultimate goal and the joy they will feel at the finish line.
How do we get to our ultimate goal? In this Sunday’s second reading from Philippians, Paul is laser-focused. “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” Remember how much Paul has changed since his earlier days as Saul. He used to persecute followers of Christ and then he heard the call of the Lord, leaving behind his old ways to pursue the heavenly goal. What do we need to leave behind to pursue our heavenly goal? For me, I answer by praying on Mark 1:16-18:
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
This Scripture is how it starts, by “following Jesus” and living as he taught us.
“Detach.” That’s the key word. Discipleship means detachment. Detachment doesn’t mean not living in the everyday world. It means placing all your daily activities on the altar and offering them up to Jesus Christ. To reach our heavenly goal, we need to detach. Stay away from judging or casting stones on others and follow Jesus as a joyful missionary disciple.