Homily for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Ex 17:8-13; Ps 121:1-8; 2 Tm 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8

All our readings present us with three rich images about perseverance in prayer and strength of faith. They show us three things. 1) That we need help to pray. 2) That we should not give up 3) That God will answer our prayers if we have faith.

God demonstrated to the Israelites in our first reading that he was the one in charge of their lives, history and circumstances. Of course, their success depended totally on him. Moses the great prophet and intercessor did what he knew how to do best; unceasing intercession for his people. Through his action and intercession, he gave credence to this popular saying that: “Prayer is the master key to success.”

If Moses’ hands were lifted to God in prayers, the Israelites soldiers were victorious in battle. This reading reminds us that our victory in life depends much on God. It also reminds us that the solution to our daily battles and struggles are; both a spiritual and the physical dimension.

In addition, another lesson from our first reading, is that we can always ask for help in our prayer and often time; it is only possible when we assist each other. The way we pray and how we persevere in our prayer; can also be helpful to others. Especially, those who look to us for strength and encouragement; so that they might not despair or lose hope.

Just like Moses holding his hands in prayer. When he got tired, the others like Aaron and Hur; helped him keeps his hands up in prayers. This story touches so many aspects of our own lives. We also get tired in praying. Sometimes, we don’t even want to pray at all. Sometimes, our whole being has lost interest in prayer. We need others to help us to keep praying. We need others to encourage, inspire and motivate us.

St. Paul reminds us in the second reading, the importance of the Scriptures in our Christian journey of faith. As an inspired Word of God, the Scriptures must be the guiding principles of our daily life and action, and of course, our prayer life. Therefore, if we must remain faithful to God in continuous prayer, we must also learn to meditate and contemplate daily on his words.

Furthermore, in our Gospel narrative, Jesus further underscores the importance of continuous prayer. St. Luke writes: “He told his disciples a parable about the need to pray always without becoming weary.” The lesson about this parable is the persistence of the one who prays. God wants us to be like the persistent widow, staying in relationship with God, confident that God hears and answers prayers. Also, Jesus laments and questions, “Will such faith be found when the Son of Man comes?” In this lament, Jesus notes how easy it can be for us to lose heart. Of course, having been a man of prayer himself, Christ knew how important prayer was for his disciples and for us. It will be the key to our success in life and mission.

My friends in Christ, I have come across so many groups of people who come together for spiritual exercises. Often these groups are led by lay people, and mostly just supported by priests. There are so many of them to list. Some are so creatively using the modern media or technology, such as; websites, text messages, using the Skype to come together to pray.  Even as a priest, I am inspired and encouraged these days; by the fact that God is working so powerfully in the lives of so many lay people; who as individuals and as groups, hold up their hands in prayer. They create sacred spaces both here in the Church and at their homes.

It might be helpful for us to be part of a group like that. I would encourage us to join or belong to one of such groups. We have some in our family parish here at Divine Savior, such as; Rosary Group, Men’s Prayer Group, Moving-on Fellowship, Bereavement Support Group, Pro-Life Group, St. Vincent De Paul, Knight of Columbus, or Lectors who meet weekly for Lectio Divina (meaning: praying, meditating, contemplating on the Holy Scriptures and sharing with the group). Whatever works for you. All we need is to pray continually. Someone defines prayer as a telephone to Heaven. God needs to be the most frequently dialed number in our daily lives.