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Finishing the Race with Grace - Family Reflection Video

By: Father David Marcham on January 17th, 2023

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Finishing the Race with Grace - Family Reflection Video

Why pray?  |  Holy lives of inspiration

Recently I heard a Christian man on the radio say that he doesn’t really believe in religion; all he needs is his relationship with Jesus. He went on to say that he didn’t need stained glass or incense or the building we call a church or even the structure of the Church that provides governance and teaching. I was surprised and disappointed because I’d heard him before and was impressed with his knowledge of scripture and applying Jesus’ teaching to our everyday lives.


And, though he’s correct that our relationship with Jesus is the foundation of our faith and life, I believe what he’s missing is that Jesus founded the Catholic Christian Church beginning with the first apostles, He gave us His Word, which would be recorded as scripture, and He initiated the sacraments of our salvation.

Jesus taught us about His Father, the Holy Spirit, and His Sonship with the Father. He gathered people in prayer and teaching and commended the Apostles at the Last Supper to celebrate what we celebrate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist at each Mass as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ.

As I read and reflected upon today’s first reading, I remembered a conversation I had recently with a young man, a transitional deacon, preparing for the priesthood. It connected with St. Paul’s acknowledgment of the Hebrews’ love for God and those in need through their good works. But then, perhaps because some are becoming what he calls “sluggish,” St. Paul urges them to persevere in this love and good works until the end.

Deacon John and I talked about our need to cooperate with God’s grace to finish the race of life, to quote St. Paul. St. Paul is like a good coach or, more importantly, a parent who recognizes the temptation to become complacent or weary in following the way of Jesus.

We talked about the parallels between running a distance race and the race of life. The need to have the proper pace but also dig deep within to finish strong or when lifting weights, in bench pressing to have a spotter who urges us and, at times, helps us complete the last rep of the set with that extra lift that we need. In each case, God wants us to push ahead but is also our source of grace and strength to finish strongly what He has in store for our lives.

I’d also suggest that, like athletes need a day of rest for their bodies and minds, all the more we need a Sabbath to revitalize our minds, bodies, and souls. A day to give thanks to God with our brothers and sisters in Christ, a day to hear the Word of God and receive the Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion at Mass, and a day to spend with family and friends, including those who are in need.

My brothers and sisters, Jesus knows our desire to follow Him to heaven, but He also knows our need to be part of a Church community, the body of Christ, where nourished with His Word and Body and Blood. A place where we can share our faith with one another, urging each other on in this race of life, and one day, please God, to cross that holy finish line into heaven!

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About Father David Marcham

Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!