By endurance and

“Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

St. Paul speaks of endurance. This week we experienced the passing of a man of endurance. His quote on the front of our bulletin speaks of endurance. Read again his words: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” The quote is taken from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, published in 1994.

Mr. Mandela endured years of struggle in the fight for freedom, including 27 years in prison. Imagine yourself as standing up for what you believe, enduring struggles, facing prison – all for what you believe, for offering the promise of freedom to your fellow man. We can all follow in his example because it is the core of Christian faith and action.

The world counts Mr. Mandela a hero because of his endurance, the encouragement he offered; for standing up in the face of oppression. Through his endurance he brought freedom to his people. Not only did he endure for freedom, but also for a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness in the midst of political and social change.

Think on these things – freedom, forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation. Our Fathers in faith, Paul, Peter, the other apostles, the saints and martyrs throughout history and even to our day endure prison and persecutions enduring to offer the hope and encouragement of scripture, the promises of Jesus to all.

We are called in this Advent season to reconnect to our call, to endure and to encourage. We call called to strengthen our faith and to offer the deliverance foretold by Isaiah and delivered by Jesus: Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.

Let us live like Paul and Peter, like Mr. Mandela, calling all to learn, to be encouraged through scripture, to live in harmony and mutual support in the Christian community. Together in Christ we offer the world what we have – the message of true and eternal freedom, endurance, encouragement, reconciliation and forgiveness.