United with Christ in Unceasing Prayer
Readings: 1st: Exodus 17:8-13; Ps: 120; 2nd: 2 Tim 3:14-4, 2; Gos: Lk 18:1-8
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at:
Today is the twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary time. Like Moses, who raised his arm in an unceasing prayer of intercession to God for his people, Christ’s arms are constantly open in prayers on the cross in intercession for us, the members of His new covenant. Hence, the holy mother church calls us to join Christ in this unceasing prayer without fainting.
In today’s first reading, God demonstrated to the Israelites that he was the one in charge of their lives, history, and circumstances. Of course, their success depended totally on Him. Moses, the great prophet and intercessor, did what he knew best, unceasing intercession for his people. Through his action and intercession, he gave credence to this famous saying, “Prayer is the master key to success.”
As long as Moses lifted his hands to God in prayers, the Israelite’s soldiers were victorious in battle. This reading reminds us that our victory in life depends much on God. It also reminds us that the solution to our daily struggles and quest has both a spiritual and physical dimension.
Hence, if we neglect God in our daily struggles while trusting only in the arm of our flesh, we might not make it. So, we must be steadfast in prayer. Also, we must do what we have to do. In other words, pray and action. We must constantly abide in God’s presence with our minds and hearts lifted to him in prayers in all life circumstances. Like Moses and the psalmist, if we continuously lift our hands and eyes to God in prayers: “Our help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This is because he never fails.
In today’s second reading, Paul reminds us of the importance of the scriptures in our Christian journey of faith. As an inspired Word of God, the scriptures must be the guiding principles of our daily life and action, and of course, our prayer life. Hence, if we must remain faithful to God in continuous prayer, we must also learn to meditate on his word.
In light of today’s general theme, Lectio Divina (the prayerful and meditative reading of the Word of God) becomes very important. We must pray with His Word and let it illuminate our minds. This is because, through constant and prayerful study of the inspired Word of God, we find the much-needed faith to preserve in prayer in the presence of God.
In today’s gospel, Jesus further underscores the importance of continuous prayer. Luke writes, “He told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually without fainting.” Through, His parable, Jesus teaches us to be consistent and preserver in prayers at all times. Of course, having been a man of prayer himself, he knew how important prayer was for his disciples. It will be the key to their success in their mission.
The same goes for all of us Christians. If we must have any success in our respective vocation and missions, we must make prayer the foundation of our Christian life. It is an indispensable tool that every Christian needs for success. The prayer in question here is that which never gives up and that which draws strength from the word of God.
Finally, we must never be tired of praying because God is never tired of listening to us. He might take time to open the door like the judge in today’s parable. However, if we do not quit, He will surely hear and answer us.
Peace be with you all!