Homily 29th Sunday Year C: Michael U Udoekpo
Readings: Exod 17:18-13; Ps 121:1-8; 2 Tim 3:14–4:2 and Luke 18:1-8
Persistence in Prayer and Preaching (PPP)
Today we are called to celebrate and reflect on what I may called, “Persistence in Prayer and Preaching” the word of God (PPP). There is power in prayer of intercession, rooted in the scriptures; praying for one another, for the church and for the community, at large. And this must done without weariness
We see this in the first reading of today at the battle of Raphidim between the Israelite and the Amelekites. While Joshua physically led the charge Moses stood on the top of the mountain with the staff of God supported by Aaron and Hur. The story is quite dramatic. As long as Moses raised and stretched his hands, in prayers, and of course with the support of Aaron and Hur the Israelite prevailed in the battled. But each time he lowered his hands perhaps because of human fatigue, the Amelekites seemed to have prevailed.
The point here, if I may reiterate, is the power of prayer, and the need to support and pray for one another always. No one is an Island. We ought to constantly support one another in prayers without weariness, knowing that God is always there for us. Even the life of Jesus as you know was marked with prayer and preaching.
Take for example, Jesus began his journey to Jerusalem in Luke 9:51. On this journey, he taught the community particularly his disciples many things. He preached charity. He preached modesty. He preached forgiveness and inclusiveness. He taught his disciples how to be compassionate to everyone including those we consider foreigners (Luke 10). He also taught them how to pray (Luke 11). He taught them how to be vigilant and courageous in preaching the word of God; as well as how to be accountable and responsible in dealing with one another (Luke 12:48), since “to whom much is given much is also expected.” He called for repentance (Luke 13). He healed the sick (Luke 14). In the parable of the lost sheep, coin and son he taught them how to reach out for one another (Luke 15), especially the poor (Luke 16). He warned against giving into temptation (Luke 17) and reiterates in the parable of the persistent widow of today’s Gospel, the power of persistence in prayer without weariness.
This power of prayer told in the passage of the Scripture be it in the first reading or in the Gospel parable of today, are all God’s words that endure forever. It does not wear out. It does not fade. It does not disappoint. We can always learn from that out-stretched hands of Moses; that symbolism of prayer. We can always learn from the supporting roles of Aaron and Hur. We can always learn from Christ's parables and teachings. We can always learn from the persistence of that Widow. Those faith stories told in the scriptures live on.
This is what Saint Paul reminds us of in the Second Reading (2 Tim 3:14–4:2), “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” (cf. 1 Pet 1:25; 2 Pet 1:19-21; Isa 40:8 and Verbum Domini, n.1). Paul charges us to be persistent in proclaiming and leaving this word in good times in bad times. But importantly, with patience, knowing that if that unjust judge could listen to the persistent widow, our God who is just and righteous, certainly, would listen to each and every one us “day and night” ( Luke 18:7).
In every situation of our lives (illness, family crisis, frustration, betrayal, loss of jobs, poverty and even in successes etc) we want to be aware of this. We want to be there for one another, your next door neighbor, your community member. Above all, we want to always, remember PPP- Persistence in Prayer and Preaching the Word of God- and return to God in our needs and thanksgiving, knowing fully well that, all our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth ( Ps 121:1-8)