St. Patrick Catholic School won the track meet, but images, especially of the relays and the passing of the baton from one runner to the next, remain. This passing of the baton can be likened to the gift of Jesus as he leaves this earth. He gives us all that we need and asks us to accept it, to run with it.
In John's gospel, Jesus hands off his commandments for us to follow. He promises us that we will not be orphans. He passes us the Spirit of truth that will remain with us. The Spirit of truth acts as our coach, cheering us on as we take the baton and hand it on to others in life's events. When we fumble, the Spirit suffers and groans within us. When we connect well, the Spirit is as excited as we are. We run toward the prize. God waits with expectation for his unified team to cross the finish line.
We may have weaknesses that make it hard to stay on track, but we know we cannot let our team down nor can a team let any member down. Communal interdependence is essential for each of us on the team. When we are tempted to slack off by the world's handoffs; when we are weakened by sickness, accidents and loss; when we are sidelined by sin, we gain strength and support to overcome our weaknesses from the spiritual hand offs from God. It must be our goal to identify and support each others' strengths, unite them with Jesus, and together, take his hand offs and run with them.
We depend on mutual support to overcome tiredness and weakness as we reach forward to God. Hold on to the gospel. Run with it.