我存证道》 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

					
Persevering in our living faith.
Ex. 17:8-13; 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2; Lk. 18:1-8

"When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" [Lk. 18:8] If the Son of Man came today, He would certainly find faith! Why? Because He would find us who have persevered in our living faith.

During today's First Reading from the Book of Exodus, [Ex. 17:8-13] we heard that Amalek went and fought with Israel at Rephidim. Moses sent Joshua to fight with the Amalek while he, accompanied by Aaron and Hur, stood on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. As long as Moses kept his hands up, Israel was victorious. When he lowered his hands, Amalek was victorious. After awhile, Moses was tired of keeping his hands up in the air. So Aaron and Hur put a stone under Moses so he could sit on it. Then they went on each of his sides, each one holding one of Moses' hands up until the sun set. Finally, Joshua defeated Amalek and his people.

Regarding this reading, a few things are worthy of mentioning.

(1) First of all, this battle was the first military activity of the newly freed Hebrews. Their victory was not based on their strength or weakness, but rather on Moses' perseverance in his intercessory prayer on behalf of Israel by keeping his hands raised up for hours, until the sun set.

(2) Secondly, through this event, Moses, as a mediator between God and the people, was as a Christ figure. Today, "there is one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all." [1 Tim. 2:5-6]

(3) Thirdly, the battle against Amalek was Joshua's first military role as a leader.

Reviewing the prophetic meaning that is found in this reading, when God placed the lives of His people in the hands of Moses, this was an image of God placing our lives in the hands of Jesus. While Moses had to persevere until the sun set, Jesus, the Light of the world, had to persevere to the end, even death on the Cross. While Moses persevered for the physical well-being of the people, Jesus persevered to the end for our spiritual well-being and salvation.

Today's Second Reading from The Second Letter of Paul to Timothy [2 Tim. 3:14-4:2] also spoke of perseverance. St. Paul urged Timothy to continue in what he had learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom he had learned it and how from his childhood he had known the sacred writings that are able to instruct for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [2 Tim. 3:14-5]

Timothy's first teachers were his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. [2 Tim. 1:5] In the Jewish tradition, parents were obligated to see that their children were instructed in the Sacred Writings (Law) as soon as they had reached the age of five. Then Paul came along, he who had been appointed as a herald and an apostle and a teacher. [2 Tim. 1:11] From Paul, Timothy had learned about Jesus Christ through many witnesses who had been entrusted to faithful people who were able to teach others as well. [2 Tim. 2:2]

Continuing with the same reading, Paul wrote, "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," [2 Tim. 3:16] While this particular Bible passage is frequently used to refer to passages in the entire Bible, when it was written, it was strictly a reference to the Old Testament because the New Testament had not been compiled as of yet. At the same time, because "all scripture" now includes the New Testament, it is proper to apply this reference to the entire Bible "so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." [2 Tim. 3:17]

Paul proceeded by telling Timothy to "proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching." [2 Tim. 4:2] The English Version of the Latin Vulgate Bible states, "Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine." [2 Tim. 4:2; Latin Vulgate]

In other words, the Word of God is always in season. Christians must persevere in their baptismal promise to reprove, entreat, and rebuke in all patience and doctrine, be it in the winter or in the summer, be it at home or at work, be it with family or with friends. Not knowing when the Lord shall return with His Kingdom, our assurance of faithfulness is our perseverance.

As Paul urged Timothy to be zealous, to take advantage of every opportunity to preach, we also must be zealous in our words and actions for the growth of the Body of Christ. For it is through us that the grace of God is manifested by His Spirit in this world. If we wait for Jesus to descend from Heaven in order to bring peace to this world through a worldly reign, we are greatly mistaken. Called to be God's children, the Lord has chosen to manifest His glory through us. If we remain idle, when the Lord returns, He will not know us. If we persevere in our living faith, when He returns, He will welcome us to His eternal Kingdom.

What does perseverance mean? Does it mean to pray for something for a week and then give up, assuming it is God's Divine Will not to grant the favour? Or should we persevere in prayer for weeks, months or even years, depending on the importance of the favour that is being asked?

Jesus' instructions in today's Reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 18:1-8] teaches us to persevere in prayer and not to lose heart. In his teachings, Paul repeated these instructions of Jesus. He preached to "pray without ceasing," [1 Thess. 5:17] to "always pray," [2 Thess. 1:11] to "not lag in zeal, (to) be ardent in spirit, (to) serve the Lord," [Rom. 12:12] "To pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end (to) keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints." [Eph. 6:18]

St. Paul also preached not to lose heart. To the Thessalonians, he said, "Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right." [2 Thess. 3:13] To the Corinthians, he said, "Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart." [2 Cor. 4:1] "So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day." [2 Cor. 4:16] To the Galatians, he said, "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up." [Gal. 6:9] And to the Ephesians, he said, "I pray therefore that you may not lose heart over my sufferings for you; they are your glory." [Eph. 3:13]

As we heard during the Gospel reading, because the poor widow kept returning to the unjust judge, bothering to the point that he could no longer tolerate her presence, she was granted justice against her opponent. Had she given up, she would have continued to suffer injustice at the hands of her opponent.

Had the poor widow been rich, she could have done like many others. She could have bribe the judge or his assistant and obtained the favour that she was seeking without the need to persevere. But this was not the case.

In a similar way, we are poor. How many of us can save ourselves without Jesus Christ? None of us! How many of us have friends who can assure our salvation? None of us! We all need Jesus Christ! Therefore, to obtain our salvation, we must persevere in our living faith, in our adoration of God, in our love towards others, in our righteousness, in our obedience to God, in our servitude, in our humility, all of these being the food that feeds our souls to assure our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Jesus concluded His Parable of the unjust judge by asking, "And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" [Lk. 18:8] In other words, will Jesus upon His return on earth find perseverance among the faithful, a perseverance that is committed to carrying the cross, even to Calvary?

As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us ask God to bless us with all the perseverance that we need to live our faith in Christ. Some of us may need perseverance in our baptismal promise to preach the Gospel. Others may need perseverance in prayer. And yet others may need perseverance in faith, or in loving one's neighbour. No matter what spiritual need we lack, by persevering in prayer, we can be assured that it will be granted to us by the grace of the Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit so we may be sanctified in Christ.

创建时间:2019-10-8 0:00:00    发布人:cczj