Saturday, October 19, 2019
29th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 17: 8 – 13 / 2 Tm 3: 14 – 4: 2 / Lk 18: 1 – 8
1st Reading: Ex 17: 8 – 13
When the Israelites were at Rephidim, the Amalekites came and attacked them. So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites in the morning. As for me, I will stand with God's staff in my hand at the top of the hill."
Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had directed, while Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. It happened that when Moses raised his hands, the Israelites would win but when he lowered them, the Amalekites would have the advantage.
As Moses' arms grew weary they placed a stone for him to sit on while Aaron and Hur on either side held up his arms which remained steadily raised until sunset. For his part Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the sword.
FROM THE 2ND READING: 2 Tm 4: 1 – 2
In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by the hope I have of his coming and his kingdom, I urge you to preach the Word, in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking or advising, always with patience and providing instruction.
GOSPEL READING: Lk 18: 1 – 8
Jesus told them a parable to show them that they should pray continually and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor people. In the same town was a widow who kept coming to him saying, 'Defend my rights against my opponent.' For a time he refused, but finally he thought, 'Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.' "
And Jesus explained, "Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night even if he delays in answering them? I tell you, he will speedily do them justice. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
Our Mass readings today speak of perseverance. The first reading and the Gospel reading speak of the power of continuing prayer; the second reading urges perseverance in the preaching of the Good News.
The Gospel parable about prayer and the unjust judge has a simple lesson: that one must always pray and never lose heart. It asks us to persevere, to continue, to persist and to endure in our prayer. Is this not the most usual response we can give about prayer, especially seemingly unanswered prayer? In the face of trials and difficulties, is not to persevere our usual way of proceeding? If the lesson is so simple (we could almost say so natural), why do we often forget to follow it?
The Lord asks us to pray and never to lose heart. He asks us to be changed by prayer. Our persevering is not the product of our prayer and is also not the predisposition for our prayer. Our persevering becomes our prayer, our persistent begging that God may stay with us and God may continue to make us feel his persevering presence and love. Of course, our persevering in prayer demonstrates our trust in God our Father who will never fail his children.
Christ did not promise to answer our prayers the way we want them answered; but he did say that our prayers are always answered: "Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him." (Mt 6: 8) "Do not worry and say: What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? Or what shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God and all these things will also be given to you." (Mt 6: 31 – 33)
The parable today helps us to understand how God answers our prayers. He assures us that he is with us through our life journey and that we must remain confident and never lose heart.
FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
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