Theme: PRAY CONTINUALLY AND PERSISTENTLY THAT YOU MAY NOT LOSE YOUR FAITH AND LOSE YOUR GOD
- Exodus 17:8-13;
- Psalm 120. R/ cf. v. 2;
- 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
- Luke 18:1-8
1. Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell
us about prayer. The gospel today tells us to pray persistently that we may not lose our
faith! (CSB; IBC) Thus the first and the last sentence of the gospel:
“Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never
lose heart. …. And the Lord said, ‘But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’” (Lk 18: 1 & 8b; SM)
The question is: “will he find any faith on earth?” The answer is: “he will find faith on earth if we pray continually and persistently!” Not only pray, but pray persistently!
The gospel tells us about the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. The gospel tells us that the unjust judge had no fear of God or respect for man; but more importantly, the gospel tells us that the persistent widow kept on demanding justice from the unjust judge until he gave her justice!
The emphasis of the gospel is not on the unjust judge, nor even on God who answers our prayers; but the emphasis is on the persistent widow! In short, the gospel today tells us to pray continually and persistently that we may not lose our faith!
If we lose our faith, we lose God, and if we lose God, we lose everything, including the most important things, that is, love, life and happiness! We lose the God of Jesus Christ, that is, love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
Thus the gospel tells us to pray continually, persistently and perseveringly, so that we will not lose our faith, so that we will not lose the God of Jesus Christ, and so that we will find love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! So that we will find love, life and happiness!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us to pray persistently! (CCB) The first reading tells us that Joshua was fighting the Amalekites, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that Moses was praying for Joshua! And as long as Moses arms were raised in prayer, Joshua was at an advantage, but as soon as Moses lowered his arms out of tiredness, Joshua was at a disadvantage! Moses’ arms had to be supported by Aaron and Hur until Joshua defeated the Amalekites! Thus we read:
“As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek.” (Ex 17: 11; SM)
The first reading tells us to pray persistently and continually so that we will win the fight even against the Devil himself!
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is our guard and guardian! (CSB) Thus the response:
“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 120: 2; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza tells us that the Lord is our guard and guardian (vv. 1-2)! The second stanza tells us that the Lord will guard our every step (vv. 3-4)! The third stanza tells us that the Lord will guard us day and night (vv. 5-6)! The fourth stanza tells us that the Lord will guard our every movement (vv.7-8)!
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but today is also
“Mission Sunday” or “World Mission Day”! The second reading follows the theme of “Mission Sunday”! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead,
I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it.” (2 Tm 4:1-2; SM)
Pope Francis also has a message for us for “World Mission Day 2013”! Excerpts:
“The proclamation of the Gospel is part of being disciples of Christ and it is a constant commitment that animates the whole life of the Church. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community.” (No. 1)
“Each community is therefore challenged, and invited to make its own, the mandate entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles, to be his ‘witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) and this, not as a secondary aspect of Christian life, but as its essential aspect: we are all invited to walk the streets of the world with our brothers and sisters, proclaiming and witnessing to our faith in Christ and making ourselves heralds of his Gospel.” (No. 2)
“I would like to encourage everyone to be a bearer of the good news of Christ and I am grateful especially to missionaries, to the priests, men and women religious and lay faithful – more and more numerous – who by accepting the Lord’s call, leave their homeland to serve the Gospel in different lands and cultures.” (No. 5)
5. Today we thank God for the gift of faith and we ask God to help us pray persistently so that we will not lose our faith! We also ask God to help us share our faith with others by proclaiming the Good News, so that all may have faith and so that all may be saved! God bless you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.