OCT 20, 2019 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lec.147)
1) Exodus 17:8-13
2) 2 Timothy 3:14–4:2
3) Luke 18:1-8 Gospel related: CCC 675, 2098, 2573, 2613
The three readings today bring to mind the meaning of persistence. As long as Moses kept his hands raised, eventually, with the help of Aaron and Hur, Joshua and the Israelites prevailed over Amalek and his men. Saint Paul reminds Timothy to remain faithful to what [he has] learned and believed. In the Gospel, Jesus uses the parable of the persistent widow to remind his disciples about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
What does it mean to be persistent? According to the dictionary, it is the “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”Some synonyms for this “obstinate continuance” include: perseverance, tenacity, endurance, and two rather fun expressions: doggedness and staying power. Let us think about those last two synonyms with regard to our relationship with God.
There is no doubt that when thinking about how God relates to us, doggedness, and staying power are apt descriptions. God created us and pursued us in love endlessly: He never diverts from this path. He loved us into being, and his love is what sustains us. From our existence, to the daily efforts we expend, God is our source of being. The entirety of Scripture attests to this.
When it comes to our relationship with God, however, we might ask ourselves if we can use these same descriptions. We certainly have the opportunity to do so. The sacramental graces we receive give us the power to persist in prayer, and our participation with that grace enables us to do so. The gift of faith allows us to trust that God will provide for us not just in answer to our prayer, but even in the act of praying for something, as he provided Aaron and Hur to assist Moses. Hope assures that our doggedness and staying power will be rewarded in eternity with Christ. How could we choose anything other than doggedness and staying power as the foundation for our relationship with God!
United by our baptism we are stronger together, and our unceasing prayer for our needs and the needs of the world really do have an effect. Here in this assembly we are united in Eucharist – in the body and blood of our Lord, in the person of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Here together we have the doggedness and the staying power to face whatever obstacles might tempt us or drag us away from our purpose in this life. For each of us is a beloved child of the Father, journeying to be one with the Father in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot resort to quick fixes. Quick fixes may work for a leaky tire, but eventually the tire will need to be replaced if we want to drive on it for a long journey. And it is a long and sometimes arduous journey we are on. Together, the journey is safer than if we venture out on our own. For together we lift each other up whenever necessary. Let us not ignore the voice of God reminding us to pray always without becoming weary. And may this Eucharist we receive help us follow that command.