HOMILY FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: IS GOD A PARAMEDIC THAT YOU CALL ONLY ON EMERGENCY?
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 2022
(EXODUS 17:8-13, 2 TIMOTHY 3:14-4:2; LUKE 18:1-8)
Sometimes live does not really make sense. Bad things happen; globally, nationally, personally, and even to good people and we wonder why. Does God really care? The holy book tells us that at the beginning of creation God created a good world and blessed his human creatures with every blessing. But Satan entered the scene and persuaded our first parents to rebel against God. There is so much evil in the world today because we keep following the footsteps of our ancestors- thinking we are smarter than God and we don’t need to do what he tells us. Thus, in ignoring God we bring many of our problems on ourselves.
This battle scene in the first reading, seems to us nowadays a bit of an odd passage to choose to reinforce the gospel lesson of perseverance in prayer. However, prayer can be exciting and uplifting, but it can also be boring and exhausting, with just that sinking feeling of exhaustion, ‘I can’t hold my hands up any longer’. That is when we need really get on and hang on in there, expressing that God is not just one Mr. Fix-it among many possible, but is our only hope and dependence. Cupboard-love alone will not do, nor a last-minute turn to someone about whose existence we had practically forgotten.
Our gospel theme today is “Persistency in Prayer”: Not giving up, Trusting in God, Supporting each other, Spiritual Works of Mercy. Jesus tells his disciples: pray always without becoming weary. And today he tells us a parable, the parable of the corrupt judge. We often think of prayer as mere asking, and this parable encourages us to pester God as the wronged widow pestered the Unjust Judge. Luke’s parables are always lively, and the characters like to talk and explain themselves! The judge’s fear of the widow can be translated ‘hit me in the face’. But such persistence is only one aspect of Luke’s teaching on prayer. Most instructive, however, is Luke’s teaching on Jesus at prayer: he reminds us that Jesus is always quietly at prayer to his Father. He needs to slip away to spend the night in prayer. Especially he prays at the most important moments of his life, at his Baptism, when he chooses his team, before he teaches them to pray, at the approach of his Passion, finally forgiving and comforting others at his death.
And the story ends with the statement from the mouth of Jesus, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8). Of course, the answer is “yes” because he will find faith in those who haven’t given up praying. Therefore, the parable is about praying as long as we are on the face of the earth. It is about consistently praying in our everyday life until the hour of our death.
My brothers and sisters, how would you describe your relationship with God, your own prayer life or your own acts of calling on God! Are they emergency calls like 911 or paramedics, or are they frequent calls as that of a loved one and constant relationship? Do I not want to build a relationship with God? And if it is a relationship, how do I sustain it? Am I able to hold up my hands in prayer throughout the day? Like Moses who raised his arm in an unceasing prayer of intercession to God for his people, Christ’s arms are constantly open in prayers on the cross in intercession for us, the members of His new covenant. Hence, the holy mother church calls us to join Christ in this unceasing prayer without ceasing. My dear friends, we must never be tired of praying because God is never tired of listening to us.
God bless you!