Shortcuts in the Long Race of Life…
Life is a long race full of obstacles, and we may be tempted to go off course by following shortcuts:
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from following (the) truth? That enticement does not come from the one who called you. –Galatians 5:5-8, NAB
Have you ever run in a long race before – anything from the local charity 5k to a marathon? Well, at any given race, there are start and finish lines, and there are also checkpoints along the way to keep you on the right course. At many of these checkpoints, there are race officials who will point you where to go.
If you follow the instructions at each check point, you will easily find your way to the finish line. In the long race of life, however, there are obstacles that will stand in your way and tempt you to go off course. There are other people who are not qualified race officials that will tell you a different way to go. Soon, making your way to the finish line gets a little bit tougher.
In life, the Church serves as our race officials. They cannot tell you how fast to run. They cannot overcome any obstacles for you. All they can do is point you in the direction of the finish line, just as St. Paul was doing for the Galatians.
The Galatians were not lost because of a lack of effort; they simply had gone off course. Someone had told them about a shortcut to the finish line, and they didn’t hesitate to take it. Unfortunately, the information they were given would not lead them to where they ultimately wanted to go.
Do not be fooled like the Galatians were. There are no shortcuts to Heaven. If we want to make our way to the finish line, we have to follow the instructions of our race officials – the Church. They cannot run the race for us; they can only show us where to go. Keep a steady pace and follow the path of the Church, and you will surely find your way to the ultimate finish line: Heaven.