HOMILY FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
THEME: PERSISTENCEIN PRAYER.
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 2022
Exodus 17: 8-13
2 Timothy 3:14- 4:2
Our first reading presents us with an episode of the battle between the Israelite and another enemy, the Amalekites. In this battle, when Moses lifts up his staff, God fights for the Israelites and they prevail. But when he lowers his hands, the fortunes of battle reverse. So, Aaron and Hur support Moses, holding up his hands until, as the sun is setting, Joshua gains the victory for Israel. Our journey through life would require us too to do some spiritual battles and the outcome of these battles would depend on the strategy we employ and the execution of this strategy; who our allies are and how resolute are we to win. We must not forget that these spiritual battles are only won by prayers.
In the Christian tradition the episode recorded in our first reading of today has always been taken as a symbol of importance of perseverance in prayer: when we pray we open ourselves up to the intervention of God; but when weariness or discouragement sets in because the desired result is not forthcoming, our prayer begins to faint and gradually we move away from that source of strength.
The assistance Aaron and Hur render to Moses shows how we as Christians must support each other in prayer – especially as persistence in prayer is often a trial of faith. Many people feel they could pull through life all alone. They would never ask for the prayerful intercession of their trusted family members and friends just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses in prayer by ensuring the hand in which is held the staff remained raised to heaven. We must note that praying alone could be very tough and tiring. In fact, it is not easy to maintain one’s calm amidst a restless, unhappy situation, hence, the need to find others who could join us and support our prayer with theirs, so that when we could not pray as we should, their prayers sustain the victory until we conquer.
The gospel reading of today also picks up this theme of persistence in prayer with the parable of Jesus about the persistent widow. Persistence in prayer is not to be understood as trying to change God’s mind, as if God was unwilling to help us in the first place. Rather, our persistence in changes us. It stretches us and strengthens us to confront evil and overcome obstacles. It fills us with power and light. If we can be persistence in prayer then we can be persistence in doing good and grow in holiness. And above and beyond whatever benefits others may receive from our prayer and good deeds, these acts of piety and service benefit us who pray — indeed, they are the means by which we become saints.
So what battle are you facing right now that wants to make you surrender? I say to you “be persistent. Keep praying. Be tough in prayer” and your heavenly Father who is neither partial nor wicked like the judge in the gospel passage would see that the best is provided for you at the most appropriate time.