for Sunday, October 17, 2010
We must learn to pray always without becoming weary and we must learn to
support one another in prayer. This is the basic teaching for us this
week. The images that are used to convey such teach may appear to us
somewhat strong or even perhaps against our modern value system. We are
invited to focus on the teachings and not on the images.
The Book of Exodus has lots of stories of killing others who get in our
way. This was fairly accepted manner of getting more territory, or
accumulating wealth, of gaining power. We humans, even today, never seem
totally comfortable just staying at home and not getting involved with
others. As soon as we get involved with others, then the challenge of
social ethics confronts us: how to relate to others. As Christians, the
questions of relationships to others is guided by the teachings of Christ.
It is a long road from the Book of Exodus to the teachings of Christ. On
the other hand, the teaching about prayer remains basically the same:
prayer without becoming weary and learn to support one another in prayer.
The challenge at times is to choose what to pray for. We are no longer
free to choose to pray for harm to our enemies. We can pray that God help
us find a way to live in peace and harmony with our enemies.
The image of Moses holding his hands up in prayer and then becoming weak
is a striking image. Only with the help of two others is he able to
continue in prayer. We can recognize that having others pray with us,
supporting us in prayer, can make an enormous difference in our praying.
Praying aloud in the presence of others and inviting them to pray with us
can be a very humbling experience.
The Gospel of Luke gives us the image of a widow insisting with an unjust
judge that he must give a just decision for her. Perhaps we also think of
an old widow, an old woman, but the image simply refers to a widow.
However old she is, she has learned to insist on what is right and just.
Most of us give up far too easily when we ask for things from others. We
accept a negative answer and believe that we can do nothing more. In
prayer, if God does not give us what we are asking for almost immediately,
we presume that His answer is “no” or that God simply does not care.
If we look at the history of prayers, the history of saints who pray, we
find that many saints prayed for decades before finally being given what
they had prayed for. Even though today's Gospel insists that God will be
quicker than the unjust judge, we also know that if we continue to ask for
something, God continues to listen.
Today let us renew our commitment to pray, to pray without getting weary
and pray, supporting one another in prayer. We can form wonderful human
communities based on prayer and love. Let us pray!
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: