PERSIST, PERSEVERE, PRAY!
29th Sunday Year C
October 20, 2013
STICK TO THE PLAN!
It is hard nowadays to stay the course. Every sea traveler knows this … every mountain climber is aware of the same. Everyone who goes to the malls understands this. You got to have a plan. You got to know what you need to buy, and nothing more, nothing else … lest you buy more than you really need, and a lot of what you really only want.
Moses’ roving, traveling band was engaged in battle. The Amalekites were not exactly good neighbors, but expert marauders. Moses literally needed both hands. No, he didn’t have to fight himself. Already old then, he delegated the task to Joshua. But Moses did not exactly hie off to his tent of an office and play computer games. He got his hands full, very literally. He kept them raised … in prayer, mind you … with a little help from Aaron and Hur, very literally, too!
Life is as hard as it can get at times. For us. For everyone. For all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. So, too, it was for Moses, Aaron, Hur, and Joshua!
We need to be engaged in battles galactic even here, even now … against our wants and desires (which for the most part are not what God wants and desires for us!) … against selfishness and the all-too-present tendency now to do selfies and all, to eternally post and re-post in Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, Pinterest, and all sorts of social networking sites. (Why, selfies even rhymes perfectly with selfish, which is what they are essentially about!).
We are engaged in extreme battles against heaven and earth … we not only use whatever the earth has and offers … we actually abuse the earth and everything there is in it … like as if there were no tomorrow.
Often, we can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, and we capitulate to our good, old, reliable comfort zone. When the going gets tough, only the tough gets going, and mind you, we are nowhere near the ranks of the few, the brave, the chosen! We easily give up the fight and throw in the towel.
Life could indeed be difficult. And complex, too, according to M. Scott Peck. We want something and work for it, and when we fail to get it, we all too often give up.
Today is a Sunday of stick-to-itiveness. Today is a day of persistence, of perseverance, and endurance! Today is a day for pray-ers, who, like Moses, kept his hands raised up to God in unending prayer.
Let me tell you what this means for you and for me … First, it is clear from the first reading that we can’t do it all. There are those who could engage in direct battle and those who can only provide the more important moral and higher support that no mere mortal can give. We need God. Period. Simple!
Second, we need to pick our battles. We need to start with basic givens. We cannot do battle with earthly opponents and still do battle with God. We need to accept God as Lord, and as He who made heaven and earth. We cannot act like we are gods, equal to Him. Gods, after all, do not pray to each other. That is only for mythology books. There is only one God, and He is up there in the heavens. And men and women do have to do the praying and God doing the gracing and life-giving! Entiendes?
Third, life is not cool, at times. Accept it. Life is not fair many times. Admit it. Suffering and opposition are part of the game called life. Get used to it. Take it from Paul, who counsels us: “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage througha ll patience and teaching.” Oh, did I mention the need to be patient and long-suffering? Like Moses? Like Aaron and Hur?
But there is a clincher. The Ms. Prayerful and Persistent award goes to a woman of little stature, but of great model potential – the widow, who pleaded and prayed no end for a just decision on her favor.
She was no Miss Congeniality, but she was Ms. Perseverance –in-Prayer.
She had faith. She had courage. She had grit. And she got it in the end.
Is the heat getting too intense in the kitchen of your life? Stick to the plan. Stay the course. Hold down the fort. Put some fresh dose of stick-to-itiveness in your tank. Keep on praying and as the Russians says, keep on rowing to the shore. God is not far from those who suffer and remain steadfast.
For God is one who sticks to His plan. And the plan is, God loves you. God saves you. God wants you to live life in all its fullness. In and through one who did not run away from the challenge – Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead.