I used to hike a lot, and it took me three tries to make it to the end of Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park. After exhausting switchbacks, the trail ended with portions of hand-over-hand chain stepping and then a narrow rock bridge, with 2,000-foot dropoffs on either side and nothing to hold on to! I think it’s a good metaphor for following Christ, or discipleship, the theme of this Sunday’s Scriptures. Discipleship is a lifelong thing. There will be twists and turns as we try to be faithful to the Lord. Sometimes we’ll slip and fall, lose the trail, get lost until we find it again. Sometimes taking just the next step is something too exhausting or frightening for a while. But as we keep on, we begin to look back and see where we’ve come from, the progress in our spiritual lives, and that is so helpful to keeping on. The word “stand” is in the opening prayer of Mass today: “Grant we pray that we may … stand in the bright light of truth.” In the Epistle, Paul exhorts us to “stand firm.” On my third try when I finally stood firmly on the overlook at the end of Angels Landing, able to see vistas more than 70 miles away, it was truly an experience of getting to the end of something worthy. The end of our discipleship journey is pictured in many ways in Scripture: a homecoming, a banquet, as standing before the throne of the one robed in white robes and the Lamb, as possessing one of many mansions, as finishing a race and winning a prize, as becoming finally one with the Father through the Son and Spirit. Perhaps you too have had an experience of coming to an end of something worthy after a tough journey. Today we pray for the graces we need, like the water and power bars in our backpacks during a strenuous hike, to keep on being faithful disciples during life’s ups and downs, until we reach our bliss.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash