October 16, 2016 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr Jim Miller

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2016

Reading 1EX 17:8-13

Responsorial PsalmPS 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

  1. (cf. 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
    Reading 22 TM 3:14-4:2

AlleluiaHEB 4:12

GospelLK 18:1-8

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Homily— October 15 & 16, 2016                                                                                                      

The Jews of Jesus’ day were expected to begin teaching their children the Scriptures at the age of five.  The study of the Law and the prophets would continue for a lifetime.  Paul told Timothy to stay faithful to this process because through faithful study of the Scriptures Timothy would come to better understand his faith in Jesus Christ.  It was a message to persevere in study, prayer and preaching.

            Moses was persevering in prayer in the first reading as he held up his hands.   When he was tired and lowered his hands they were losing the battle but when Aaron and Hur supported his hands they won.   The lesson for us is that we continue praying even when we are tired and it is more effective when we can pray with others.

            In the gospel we are taught the importance of perseverance in prayer.   One of the possible translations for “wear out” literally means “give a black eye” or “strike in the face.”  The translation of this passage could be:  “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps hitting me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not give me a black eye by continually coming.”

            Jesus’ audience probably chuckled at the story as they pictured the pompous judge coming around to do what the lady asked, trying to preserve his dignity as others snickered at seeing who had worn him down. 

            How did Jesus persevere?  There were several ways, including humor and help from friends, but, ultimately, it was prayer, conversation with His Father, that helped Him persevere.

            The early Christian community had believed that Jesus would soon return and bring with Him justice and the end of the world.  It was 50 years later and Jesus had not returned.  As a result of disillusionment, disappointment and persecution, Luke’s community was falling away from its faith.  Luke had to convince them to persevere.  We too can suffer disillusionment and disappointment, so how are we to endure?

            In this election year I hear some say that the world will come to an end if Donald Trump wins and others say the same if Hillary Clinton wins!    I say that whoever wins we need to persevere in prayer for them and for our country and for the world.

            Prayer cannot be an occasional practice because our relationship with God is not occasional.  It is permanent, pervasive and persistent.

            How important is prayer in our lives?   I celebrated the Mass of Resurrection for Kris Neenan this week and her sister asked her about putting in a do-not-resuscitate order in case she was unconscious and could not make a decision on her health care.   Kris replied that she fought for life all of her life and would keep on fighting.   “That as long as she could pray for someone else her life had a purpose.”   Isn’t that a wonderful attitude about her love of life and her confidence in the value of her prayer time.   She had a long list of people for whom she prayed.

            Let us appreciate the value of prayer and the importance of persistence.