My Dear Parishioners,
As infants, we learn instinctively that we are totally dependent on our parents for what we need. And almost as quickly, we learn that at times the only way to get what we need and want is to cry, nag and even beg. Though our parents may, at first, resist our cries and appear strong, we know that our continuous pleas and tantrums will eventually wear them down, until they give us what we want!
Today’s Scripture passages all emphasize the spiritual importance of persistence and perse-verance. In the first reading, Moses is persistent in keeping his hands raised, as God instruct-ed him. In return, God gave him and his people the victory they sought. Paul tells Timothy to be persistent in teaching and preaching the word of God. And finally, Jesus uses a rather comical parable about a stubborn judge and an equally stubborn widow to teach us about the importance of being persistent in our prayer.
Upon further reflection, however, it becomes clear that what Jesus is really doing is calling us to a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. He is challenging us to leave our childish ways of thinking behind so we can mature in our faith. The reason for being persistent in prayer is not to control or manipulate God or to bend God towards our will. Rather, it is to make us ever-more aware of and receptive to the sustaining love and abundant grace of God in our lives. In other words, our efforts at prayer are not aimed at making God more attentive to us, but at making us more receptive, more attuned to God’s will for our lives.
Yes, we come into the world dependent on others, and learn quickly to get what we want and need through persistence. However, we often may grow into adults who think we no longer need God or anyone else. Today’s readings help remind us of our utter dependence on God for all that we have and all that we are. As we are mindful of this, let us take the example of Moses from today’s first reading, and strive always to, at least figuratively, have our hands raised in prayer to receive God’s abundant gifts and to put these gifts to use in the humble and grateful service of God and others.
God Bless, Msgr. Maresca