Homily: Twenty-ninth Sunday Year C Persistent prayer

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Homily: Twenty-ninth Sunday Year C

Reading 1: The power of prayer. Human power unsupported by God is not power at all. Human power—Joshua and the Israelites were waging war against the Amaleks.  Human power supported by prayer was effected, as was Moses interceding before God for the Israelites. When Moses tired, the enemy had the best; when he persisted, Israel was powerful. Moses wasn’t called by God to fight the battle with the Amaleks with the sword, but with the weapon of prayer.

When we pray, God helps us always. It may not be in the way we desire or expect, but God will respond. The greatest intercessory prayer was the prayer of Jesus from the cross. This prayer was the gift of his life for our salvation. With arms outstretched he was obedient to the Father out of love even to the death of the cross.

We heard a few weeks ago Paul exhorting that we should raise our hands, praying for the needs of others. Our prayer is sustained when others join us in that prayer, like Aaron and Hur holding Moses’ arms. It was the persistent intercessory prayer of this community of three that gave the impetus and power of God to Joshua and his troops to overcome their enemies.

Our prayer of intercession is pleasing to God for it reflects our love for the one we are praying for. It is a reflection of the centrality of God and our dependency upon God for all things. Intercessory prayer does not change God’s mind, but allows us to be part of God’s plan for the person or situation. To intercede, someone has said, is to stand in the gap.

Gospel: Again, the theme of persistence in prayer. In Luke there are certain classes of people who are vulnerable and marginalized. He shows Jesus reaching out to them and ministering to them or using them as examples in his teachings.

Here it is a widow, who has a just cause against her adversary. She is totally bereft and dependent on God for her survival. The judge, who hears her case, gives her no immediate satisfaction or resolution. But she persistently approaches the judge with her case. He finely gives in to her request.

Jesus says that his Father is not like the judge, for God cares for us and our needs. He wants the best for us. However, he wants us to be persistent as a sign of that we have no one but him to take care of our needs and the needs of others. It is our faith in him as a loving Father that allows us to be persistent in our prayer.

The disturbing statement is the last: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” What does faith and prayer have in common? We pray to God because we believe and are committed to him. The persistenceis also in faith, even if we do not have all the answers. Our faith in God does not waver because thanks happen to good people or our prayer was not fully answered the way we wanted.

Our persistence in prayer is predicated on who God is and not on ourselves or what God does or does not do.  The persistence is not just in the asking for something but in coming to God, expressing our acceptance, acknowledgement, dependency upon God. We come because he is God.

Reading 2: Paul gives us two points. Remain faithful to the Word of God, which is capable of giving us wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus. We need to read and reflect on the Word of God for different reasons, but especially that we may be competent and equipped for the work of the Gospel.

The second point is that we need to share with others the Word of God for their up building and salvation.

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