V SUNDAY OF LENT
isaiah 43:16-21; philippians 3:8-14; john 8:1-11
august 7, 1954. vancouver, canada. the venue of one of the greatest track and field events in history: the «miracle mile». only two men had run the mile under four minutes: roger bannister and john landy. this was a face-off.
bannister’s strategy was to set a good pace on the first and second laps, cut pace on the third to save his energy for the fourth and final lap. landy had a different strategy: on the third lap, he sprinted and took a big lead. but by the start of the final lap, bannister had managed to cut the lead to fifty metres… and was gaining all the time. as the runners headed down the home stretch, landy looked back to see where bannister was. bannister launched his attack. landy did not see him until he lost the lead, and bannister won the «miracle mile» by five metres. by looking back, landy lost the race.
often, looking back is the cause of many of our problems. we need to look at the past and to learn from our mistakes. true! no problem there. the problem is we remain looking back.
the readings ask us:
to «remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old» [the former things for israel include the exodus from egypt—their glorious liberation, their foundational event!];
to «forget what lies behind but strain forward to what lies ahead» because of «the supreme good of knowing CHRIST JESUS»;
to not condemn ourselves because of our past sins because the LORD tells us: «neither do I condemn you. go, and from now on do not sin any more.»
do i look through the rear-view mirror or through the windshield of life? what are the things of the past that weigh me down and prevent me from enjoying the present?
let us, with st paul, say: «i forget what lies behind and i strain ahead for what is still to come, for the prize of the call of GOD in CHRIST JESUS.»