Reflections

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2019

Prayer Is Calling On God Day And Night
1. Prayer: The Breath of Life
2. Prayer: Conversing with God
3. Love of the Bible

Introduction
1. Prayer: The Breath of Life
Do we put our very life in our prayer or are we reciting formulas, even though we agree with their contents? If we could only express in prayer what we live, cry out our miseries and shout our joys, persist in praying, not giving up, insisting, against all odds, because our faith is against all odds and because our very life depends on it, as does the life of justice and love in the world. In this Eucharist we join our prayers to those of Jesus our Lord.

2. Prayer: Conversing with God
In a personal relationship with a person, you speak to him or her, to thank, to tell how you feel about the other or yourself, and about things and persons. Once in a while you ask for a favour or you offer your help and encouragement. In our relationship with the Lord prayer is doing all these things (and when we offer help to the needy, it is to him). If we love him, we cannot keep silent. Let us ask Jesus again in this Eucharist: “Lord, teach us to pray.”

3. Love of the Bible
We are witnessing with joy in our day how people come together to hear and read the Good News of the Bible. They seek in its message the meaning of their lives. Though written in the past, the Bible still deals with God’s love present among us now. What has Jesus to say to us today about the reason why we live, about the great questions of life and death? Let Jesus’ words stir us and move us to share in his life.

First Reading: In the Name of the Lord
In this strange story, which the liturgy uses to stress perseverance in prayer, Moses raises his staff in the name of the Lord and leads his people to victory.

1 Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel. Moses, therefore, said to Joshua, “Pick out certain men, and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. I will be standing on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him: he engaged Amalek in battle after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur. As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight. Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset. And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (cf. 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth. R.

May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel. R.

The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. R.

The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever. R.

Second Reading: Proclaim the Word Inspired by the Spirit
Hold on to God and his message, says St Paul to Timothy, and share it with others. For this message is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

2 Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Beloved: Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

Alleluia: Hebrews 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Pray Continually and Never Lose Heart
God’s justice and love are greater than that of people. He will hear the prayers of those who cry out to him with trust and perseverance.

Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Commentary
In this society, stability in everything seems to be an odd occurrence. Couples frequently break up because of lack of constancy in their affections or their patience. In a world of immediate outcomes and speedy communications, quick results, instant gratification, and immediate achievements are expected as a matter of course. There is no patience to wait for things to mature; nor is there much patience to deal with frustrations. As soon as something is not as pleasant, it is avoided at all costs. When something is a little difficult, it is abandoned. The same can happen with prayer if the results expected are not seen in the anticipated ways and times. The saying, “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me NOW” becomes thus a more likely prayer that the original humorous expression intended to be. Nigerian movies and miracle pastors steal into this aberration and the crowds key in. Every prayer is heard or must be heard. No time to wait on the Lord. God’s time is the best is no longer believed.
Today we are exhorted to have patience. Not because patience makes God do whatever we want, but because it is patience that molds us as disciples and followers of Christ. It is perseverance in faith that opens the ways to salvation for the world. It is not easy. Moses grew tired and someone had to hold his arms up high. We probably also need that kind of help from the community and reminders from people close to us, who tell us that we cannot abandon the commitments we make or the tasks we begin simply because difficulties, frustrations or obstacles arise (when our hands grow weary).
We do not depend on ourselves nor do our decisions have consequences for us alone, but for many others. We only have to think of how our daily decisions affect others; for example, if we, for instance, abandon a job because we don’t like the boss, we will endure difficulties in order to support our family; if we quit a relationship because we are bored and want something else, we will create many wounds and a feeling of failure, as well as untold suffering on children, relatives, and friends; if we quit our studies, the consequences for our own future and that of our family could become a chain of problems; and we could go on and on. God will not change his mind because of our prayer. We are the ones who change when we persevere, when patience produces fortitude in us, when fortitude gives us confidence, and confidence assures us of the grace and presence of God among us.

Blessing
This Eucharist has been for us
a strong reminder
that persevering, trusting prayer
must necessarily be a prayer of concern
for the weak and the poor,
and that concern must express itself
in bringing them justice.
May the Lord give you this strength and bless you:
the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Let us go to love and serve the Lord
in the people around us. R/ Thanks be to God.

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