Readings: Ex 17:8-13; 2 Tim 3:14-4:2; Lk 18: 1-8
Persistence, determination and fighting Amalek, are some of the phrases that sum up the message of this Sunday. The readings focus on the power of persistent prayer. Such persistence is the determination to continue in prayer particularly the highest form prayer of thanksgiving – the Eucharist, every Sunday and even every day. Being at Mass Sunday after Sunday or even daily may be compared to Moses keeping his arms upraised - a gesture of prayer, in order to assure the Lord’s continuous protection and help as we hear in the first reading. “As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage” in battle against one of the most feared fighters Israel ever confronted. No nation on earth could ever defeat the Amalekites. But with Moses’ arms raised in prayer to the God of Israel, with Aaron and Hur holding Moses’ hands up high in a posture of prayer, with the forces of God on the side of Israel, not only was Amalek defeated, this fierce nation was totally destroyed. Paul’s second letter to Timothy also sees the apostolic ministry in terms of persistence. “Be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient...through all patience and teaching.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells “his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” Jesus is aware that his disciples and us tend to give up too soon, and therefore tells them the parable of a widow who kept going to a judge until he finally accepted to intervene for her. The point of the parable is clear: There is nothing impossible with God just as there were no enemies too strong for the forces of Israel with God on their side. When God fights with us against the forces of evil, we will win the battle. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) Just as Israel had fierce battles with Amalek, you and I have our own Amalek to fight – our vices and weaknesses. Whether we fight our sinful habits: explosive temper, anger or whatever vice like alcoholism or drug addiction, don’t ever give up. 2) The power of persistent prayer is exemplified best by going to Mass Sunday after Sunday or even daily and in all humility believing that in the end, being on God’s side, you will win the battle. 3) The readings remind us of our own fierce battles with our own Amalek of anger and sloth and gossip. We must never to give up, because with the persistent power of prayer, even the fiercest enemy – the devil will fall. Think about your own Amalek today and be determined to go into battle fighting on God’s side.
©2016 John S. Mbinda