Autor: Fr. Patrick Butler, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
July 21, 2007. Homily. Readings: Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14, 4:2; Luke 18:1-8.
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C Readings: Exodus 17:8-13;
Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14, 4:2; Luke 18:1-8 Author: Fr.
Patrick Butler, LC
THEME OF THE READINGS Prayer is efficacious -
in fact the most effective activity. Therefore, prayer that is
constant and persevering is a guarantee of success. The Reading
from the Book of Exodus and from the Gospel confirm
this truth by showing Israel´s victory occurring when Moses had
his hands raised in prayer and through Jesus´ story of
the insistent widow and the unjust judge. In the Second
Reading, St Paul passionately urges us to know scripture because
it is the foundation of our knowledge of Christ and
the means to accomplish all God asks of us. He
exhorts us to persevere in the faith we have received
and transmit it faithfully, fulfilling our Christian vocation whether easy
DOCTRINAL MESSAGE Time and time again in the Old
Testament, God´s people are saved by their confidence in the
Lord. Their insignificant actions are disproportionate to the results. Their
salvation, in fact, comes directly from the Lord. This is
the case in the plagues that obtain Israel´s liberation from
slavery in Egypt, the destruction of the Egyptian army when
they try to overtake Israel in the crossing of the
Red Sea, the defeat of the Amalekites that we witness
in today´s Reading, the defeat of the great city of
Jericho when the walls come tumbling down, and so many
other instances. On the contrary, when Israel became more rationalistic
and relied on treaties with powerful nations instead of God´s
promises, their defeat was imminent.
Jesus is conscious of the
tendency of believers to pray just a minimum, soon giving
up if there are no immediate results. Thus, he employs
his imagination, as he does so marvelously on many occasions,
to come up with a parable that teaches the lesson
"about the need to pray continually and never lose heart."
He presents the worst case scenario of an unjust judge,
from whom a poor, helpless widow needs to obtain a
favor. Being unjust, the judge is the least-likely person to
grant justice to the woman. Being a widow the
most vulnerable category of persons in society together with orphans
with no lawyer to represent her, the woman has
little to no chance of obtaining what she desires. However,
because of her unremitting petitions, and not because of the
content of her plea, she obtains justice. If this works
in the case of the parable, how much more should
it work in the "best case" scenario, in which it
is God, our Father, responding to the prayers of his
Jesus poses the question at the end
of the Gospel, "When the Son of Man comes will
he find any faith on earth?" St. Paul, in the
Second Reading, speaks of perseverance in proclaiming the message of
Jesus Christ, when it is welcomed by the hearers and
when it is unwelcome. The duty of the pastor is
to sow the message of salvation patiently, with faith
that it will bear fruit.
PASTORAL APPLICATIONS In a world that
is full of the frenzy of activity, it seems impractical
and useless to take time to pray. What does
it accomplish, after all? It is better to take advantage
of our time to get things done. It´s not
strange to find our Lord asking at the end of
today´s Gospel, "When the Son of Man comes will he
find any faith on earth?"
The truth is that there is
little faith in the power of prayer to bring about
real, palpable results. In the end, it all depends upon
what results we are seeking. f we are only trying
to have success in temporal affairs money, promotions, vacations
and the like then it is much more practical
to just ambitiously seek our goals without regard for prayer.
If, however, we seek to orient our temporal activity
towards what is eternal and everlasting, then prayer is essential.
We must pray and "pray constantly" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), which
means having an attitude of living constantly in God´s presence
and speaking frequently with him. If we pray and orient
our lives towards the coming of God´s Kingdom, we can
be assured that he will take care of our daily
concerns. As Christ declares, "Seek first his kingdom and his
righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well"
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