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, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I recently attended the funeral for a friend of mine, a very holy Jesuit named Fr. Gene Merz, SJ. Gene was known around the world for his kindness, wisdom and ability to be so completely present to each person in front of him. The running joke at his very crowded funeral was that every single person there assumed they were Gene’s best friend! During his last earthly days, Gene was very adamant that his funeral was not to be about him. It was to be a tribute to God’s loving action in our lives. Gene insisted he was only a minor character in such a great love story. Amid my tears, I smiled, noticing that even in his death Gene was bringing those around him to God.
When I think of how I am surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses” I will always think of Fr. Gene. Who are the cloud of witnesses in your life? For whom are you such a witness?
—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.
Loving God, give me the wisdom today to see my life and my struggles for what they are: chapters of a love story You are writing in and through me.
Thank you for my companions who remind me of what is important when I so frequently forget. Help me remind others when they forget the words to their Love stories. Amen.
—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!