In the Mass Readings for the Ordinary Form of the Mass we hear about the Israelites’ battle against Amalek as recorded in Exodus 17:8-13. Joshua leads the Israelites in battle against the Amalekites while Moses stands on top of the hill with the Staff of God in his hand. It turns out that as long as Moses has his hands raised, the Israelites are successful in battle but when he would rest his hands, the Amalekites would be successful. This resulted in those who were with Moses upon the hill, propping his hands up so that the Israelites would be successful and win the day in the battle.
This reading is matched with the readings from the New Testament, namely, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 where St. Paul reminds us that we, as Christians are to be persistent in proclaiming the Gospel to others whether it be convenient or inconvenient to do so. In addition, we read in today’s Gospel reading from Luke 18:1-8 about the parable of the persistent widow who badgered the unjust judge until he gave her a just verdict. Our Lord reminds us that God is even more in tune with what is just than we are and that if we persevere in prayer to God for justice as this widow did with the unjust judge, that we should be confident that God will answer our prayers.
Since becoming Catholic, I have become amazed at the variety of ways in which the Church teaches us to pray. There are tons of devotions ranging from the Liturgy of the Hours to the Rosary and others. It makes sense that the Church would develop such a variety of forms of spirituality since she has been praying to Our Lord and for the salvation of all humanity for the past 2000 years.
Like the leader of the Israelites, Our Lord Jesus raises the Staff of God, His Cross, to heaven as we attempt to fight our sinful ways. Without the prayers of the Saints who join with Our Lord on heaven’s hilltop and the Sacraments which we receive through Our Lord’s Passion on the Cross, we would never be successful.
In addition, it is tempting at times for us to give up particularly during those times in our lives when we are having difficulties. St. Paul reminds us that, as Christians, it is our family duty to continue to pray and live out the life of Christ. We must be determined to make our entire lives and every action that we do in life a prayer to Our Lord. Imagine what great witnesses we would become for Our Lord if we actually did this and did it well.
And, finally, we must persevere in our prayers knowing that Our Lord is not at all like the unjust judge in the parable. He hears our prayers and knows what is best for us in all things. With the help of God’s grace through the Sacraments that we receive through Our Lord’s passion we can, if we are open to it, answer Our Lord’s question at the end of the parable, (“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”) in the affirmative each and every day and ultimately at the end of time as we enter into the new heavens and new earth at His second coming.