Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 10.20.2013

The opening reading and the Gospel reading for this Sunday present the theme of persevering in prayer. The first is a scene full of adventure. The Gospel reading is humorous[1]. The message is the same. Years ago, Frank Sinatra sang a song called High Hopes, just remember the lyrics:

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your gettin' low
'stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.

Jesus told his disciples, pray always without becoming weary[2]. The widow kept pestering the wicked judge until he gave her a just decision. We might sing, “Oops, there goes another wicked judge.” Moses kept his arms raised in prayer until the Israelites won. “Oops, there goes some more Amalekites.”

Perseverance works! All of life experience tells us, stick-to- it, set the goal and keep at it. Keep trying, don't give up. Robert Frost published his first poem at age 16, in his high school newspaper. But, he wrote poems for another 23 years before he sold a single poem. Albert Einstein once said, "I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, my conclusions are false. The hundredth time I am right." .

Jesus told his disciples "pray always without becoming weary." By pestering the judge, the widow got what she wanted. The Israelites defeated Amalek as long as Moses prayed. All of life experience tells us, stick-to-it, set the goal and keep at it.

But, why do we pray? Why do we pester God with persistent prayer? God knows our needs. We do not have to tell God what we need! We do not have to keep badgering God until God meets our needs. God knows our needs and is eager to meet them. So, why pray?

The most obvious reason we pray is that Jesus told us to pray. Luke's Gospel records the words of Christ, Ask, and it will be given to you. Jesus tells us in John's Gospel, If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it. In today's gospel Christ encourages us to pray. We tell God our needs in prayer because Jesus told us to.

The good news is that when we pray, something happens. We change. The widow got justice, the Israelites won. For us, we keep praying, and we become people who pray. We pray to focus in on God. Prayer forces us from self-reliance to dependence on God. When we're close to God by prayer, we live a God-centered life.

Jesus says the most important thing about prayer is to pray without becoming weary. So we keep raising our arms to God in prayer. We keep pestering God in prayer. And we are not surprised when we move another rubber tree plant ■

[1] Sunday 20th October, 2013, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Exodus 17:8-13. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Ps 120(121). 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:2. Luke 18:1-8.
[2] Luke 18:1

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris