October 16, 2016
by Dick Hauser, S.J.
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 147

Exodus 17:8-13
Psalms 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Luke 18:1-8

Praying Ordinary Time

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
(Ps 121:1-2).

We are never alone! Today’s readings reaffirm our Christian faith that God is ever present -- and that God is especially present when we call upon God in need. They acknowledge what we all know:  we tend to call upon God more frequently when we are in need.

Jesus’ parable about the widow and the judge could not be more specific.  Jesus’ teaching is clear: God always hears us when we pray to God in need.  Emphasizing this truth  Jesus gives the situation of a defenseless widow with no social standing importuning an indifferent and dishonest judge.  The judge finally relents “because this widow keeps bothering me.” Jesus’ message is clear:  if an unjust judge relents “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?”

The story of the battle between  Joshua and Amalek from the Book Of Exodus is eloquent. Moses instructed Joshua to engage Amalek in battle. Moses went to the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands: “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hand rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.”  The point is clear: the Hebrews got the better of the fight as long as Moses was beseeching God on their behalf.

Sadly it often takes our human needs to crack through our self-centered individualism and bring us to prayer acknowledging our need for God’s presence and help. But Paul’s letter to Timothy reminds us of what we have know from  infancy. “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.”  In short, we can do all things with Christ who strengthens us!

We are never alone! The Responsorial Psalm catches a fundamental truth for believers: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Isn’t it true that the marvels of creation awaken our  dependence on God and need for continual prayer?

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
(Ps 121:1-2).

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