Keep on Praying

Sunday readings in brief 29 C

Ex 17:8-13; Ps 120(121); 2 Tim 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8

Keep on Praying

Dear friends, today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time year C. The readings today are urging us to remain steadfast in prayer and never get tired until we succeed. Many times, we fail to achieve our desired goal because we get tired somewhere on the way. A Swahili refrain says, “Mvumilivu hula mbivu” meaning the one who perseveres eats what is ripe. Many people are leading bitter lives because they did not wait for things to ripen. Some hurried to get married without proper discernment and preparations. Others did not have enough patience to complete their studies, etc. Losing hope, patience, and perseverance can cost us a great deal in life.

In the first reading, the people of Israel went to war with Amalek at the command of Moses. As long as Moses kept his arms raised, praying to God, Israel had the advantage and when he got tired and his arms fell, they lost. To keep winning, Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms, and eventually, they won the battle. We too have many battles in our lives. In the beginning, we pray to God to help us but as time goes we grow tired and stop praying, going to Church, and eventually, we lose the battle.

The role of Christian Communities is very important in our lives. In the community of faith, we help one another to keep our arms raised in prayer through difficult times. We must choose carefully who our friends are, are they those who support us in prayer when we get exhausted, or are they those who discourage us telling us that there is no hope of winning?

The Scripture is full of references to people who won their battles because of remaining steadfast in prayer and Jesus is the greatest of them all. Even when the devil tempted and dissuaded him from taking the path of the cross, Jesus kept his arms raised to the father. Because of this, he won for us the battle against eternal death. St. Paul, therefore, writes to Timothy telling him “All Scripture is inspired by God for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy.

In the Gospel Reading, Jesus talks about the importance of insisting on prayer without getting tired. He gives the parable of the slow Judge who had no regard for man or God but who budged because of the pestering of the woman who was seeking justice. This judge represents what has become a common scenario in public offices. The slow wheels of justice have plunged many poor and powerless people into poverty and others have died without obtaining justice.  I know people who have been battling cases in court for years and because of perseverance, finally they got justice delivered to them. This many times happens when there is a change of guard in those offices. The woman in the Parable kept on going to the judge every day without counting the cost. Maybe she lived far away like many people who have to travel far to seek justice.

In this parable, there is the slow judge and the persistent woman. Which character best describes you and me? Are you someone charged with the responsibility of making things move for others but have grown slow because of corruption and greed? It is said that justice delayed is justice denied.

Dear friends, there are a few lessons I want to invite us to draw from today’s readings. One, like Moses, let us ask our fellow community members to help us to keep our arms raised so that we can win the battle we have in life. Two, let us learn from the many references we have in the Bible about the value of remaining steadfast in prayer. Third, let us find out if we are the ones slowing down justice for others and repent otherwise, the time to render accounts of our actions will come.

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (see also

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