Praying persistently with friends and loved ones

October 20, 2019 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A reading from the Book of 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 121

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. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
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. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
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.
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. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

A reading from the Second letter of Paul to 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.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to 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?”

Homily

Talking with my generation or with my co-millennials and even those who are younger than me, they commonly express their difficulty in being consistent in praying. Despite the busy environment of the city and of the many distractions that we may have like our gadgets, the internet and the need to socialize and be with others, young people also desire to have deeper grounding. This means that there is really a deep desire among the young to connect with God and to be one with him. However, the circumstances that they were in would sometimes prevent them to be consistent in relating with God through prayer. Other circumstances could be the personal struggles young people are facing in their studies or work, or problems in their relationships with their family and friends.

Hence, prayer is believed to be time-consuming and demanding as well as tiring. Well, yes, prayer can be tiring and it can even be lonely especially when we feel alone and feel that nobody understand us. 

Being the Youth Director in this Parish, I took the opportunity to be with the youth. Since October is a Rosary Month I had this chance to join with them. Every night since the 1st of October, our youth are visiting the homes of their co-youth in our parish. We have visited one house after another and prayed together. But what touched me deeply is the very presence of the youth. During the processions going towards another home to visit, I have noticed that whenever we pass by men who were drinking on the streets, they too join us even by just making the sign of the cross and observing silence while we were passing.

I find this a moving experience. This tells me that prayer changes people not just those who are praying but also those who are affected by the prayer in one way or another. What I find more interesting also is by witnessing how powerful prayer can be when we are with others.

This reminds me of the readings we have heard today. Remember, in the first reading Moses raised up his hand in prayer to God. Moses prayed for Israel because an enemy waged war against them. The Book of Exodus recalls how Moses in the long run grew tired. Whenever he let his hands rest, the enemy, Amalek had the better of the fight.

Yet, what is more interesting was the presence of Aaron and Hur. Seeing Moses growing tired in praying, the two helped him by supporting both hands of Moses. Through their support, Moses’ hands remained steady till sunset.

This tells us that we find more strength in praying with others. When we too are with others even though we feel tired and lonely, the very presence of our dear friends and loved ones could uplift us and inspire us.

The presence of Aaron and Hur reminded Moses that he was not alone in asking favor from God. Moses became persistent and consistent in praying because Aaron and Hur also joined with him.

Jesus, in the Gospel, reminds us also of the need to pray always and never to give up. The parable of the persistent widow captures that message of Jesus. Moreover, Jesus also emphasized that character of God who pays attention to us and to our prayers. The dishonest judge who gave in to that persistent widow just highlighted the compassionate Father that we have. Indeed, God is most willing to listen to our prayers and grant the deepest desires of our hearts. 

Thus, the message for us today is summed up into two points. 

First, be persistent in praying. Even though the Lord knows already our desires before we open our mouth, but he wants us to communicate with Him consciously. He wants us to name our desires because it is in that way that we also become more aware of ourselves, of our need and of God’s desire for us. Thus, by constantly communicating with God, this also becomes an opportunity for us to seek God’s for us. This tells us too not to be discouraged when what we have been asking is not yet granted or not granted at all. This is invitation for us to grow in our confidence with God and to trust him better because God would always have something better for us.

Second, pray with others by seeking the company of your friends and loved ones in praying. Never be shy by asking the help of your friends and loved ones to pray with you. Friendship or family relationship grows and deepens when we pray together. Praying with those who are close and special to us creates more bonding and relationship-building than any other form of recreation.

In this way of praying, we may also realize that as we ask others to pray with us, we may also learn how to pray for others, to be generous in praying and interceding to those who need most our concern, affection and prayers. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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A Dose of God Today

A-Dose-of-God-Today : Your Daily Spiritual Nourishment, tries to put into words the thoughts and experiences of the wonder of life through the Holy Scriptures and the many invitations of God today.

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