Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

 

8dcbd689293929142de2e2d55e751e03.jpg

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

 

OPENING PRAYER

kr-xAeBRRdrbPdrtYmERQJQ_uQPEeIb10ralQT5KaC7e9hPXlek4mPWTPn0AB60p0aNl5_WQJ4aBfbe1D0mzyPC1nyCpWqdyY7QszwAv3DpVCdEPlbp7u-qM3DMhQu2QjEe3ol_U0-DA1L9miA=s0-d-e1-ft.jpg

Prayer of St. Michael From The Liturgy of St. James

 

O most glorious Prince, Michael the Archangel, be mindful of us, here and everywhere: pray always unto the Son of God for us, Alleluia, Alleluia.

In the sight of Angels I will sing to Thee, O God.

I will worship facing Thy holy temple and confess Thy name.

O God, who in a marvelous order hast established the ministries of angels and of men, mercifully grant that as Thy holy Angels ever do Thee service in heaven, so at all times they may succor us here upon earth.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

COLLECT

Almighty ever-living God,

grant that we may always conform our will to yours

and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

READING I

Prophet+Moses+with+Aaron+&+Or.jpg

Ex 17:8-13

In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.

Moses, therefore, said to Joshua,

“Pick out certain men,

and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle.

I will be standing on top of the hill

with the staff of God in my hand.”

So Joshua did as Moses told him:

he engaged Amalek in battle

after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,

Israel had the better of the fight,

but when he let his hands rest,

Amalek had the better of the fight.

Moses’ hands, however, grew tired;

so they put a rock in place for him to sit on.

Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands,

one on one side and one on the other,

so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people

with the edge of the sword.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 2577 From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,1 Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam.2 But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses “stands in the breach” before God in order to save the people.3 The arguments of his prayer – for intercession is also a mysterious battle – will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvelous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.

1 Cf. Ex 34:6.

2 Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14.

3 Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9.

APPLICATION

The lesson from this incident in the history of Israel is evident. Although it happened about thirty-two centuries ago it is as true today as it was then, for neither God nor human nature has changed in the meantime. The lesson is that God wants us to pray for the very gifts which he wants to give us. He is ready to give them to us. He certainly didn’t want Amalek to prevent his Chosen People from getting to Canaan, the land he had promised them. Amalek was resisting by force of arms. Israel must overcome him by force of arms. But as their fighting force was much smaller, he willed to give them extra strength on condition that they ask him for it. Moses represented the Israelites. He was their intermediary with God. When he prayed, Israel prayed. While he prayed all went well with Israel’s fighting men.

Some wiseacre may object: if God willed they would reach Canaan, which he definitely did, why should they have to ask him for help whenever there were obstacles to overcome? The reason was that he was still training them. They had to learn that all that they were and all that they had, they owed to him. He was not only their Creator and Lord, but he was their Benefactor as well. They must learn to appreciate this and they must therefore turn to him in all their needs. Whenever they did this, all through their history, God befriended them; he answered their prayers. Whenever they forgot this lesson, or refused to see its meaning, and trusted in their own strength and wisdom instead, they fared badly.

As we said above, God has not changed and we humans have not changed. We too need to learn this lesson and its full meaning. God wants all of us in heaven, the eternal home he has promised us, and he is willing and glad to help us on the way. He wants us to ask him for this help, not for any personal gain for him, but for our own personal advantage. He wants us to remember always, that he is our Creator, Lord and Benefactor. We show our recognition and our appreciation of all he is and has done for us every time we pray to him. For every prayer, even of petition, is a recognition of our relationship with God.

He was a Benefactor and a Savior of the Israelites all through their history, but what he did for them was but a pale shadow of all he has done and is doing for us Christians. He gave them Moses to lead them into the promised land of Canaan. He has given us Christ, his only begotten Son, to lead us to heaven. He gave them Moses as their mediator to intercede for them. He gave us Christ, who is seated at his right hand in heaven, continually presenting our adorations and petitions to him. Moses’ outstretched arms won the battle against Amalek and other enemies of the Israelites. The outstretched arms of Christ on the cross won for us, once and for all, the battle against death and evil.

Some of the Israelites whom he led out of Egypt and helped on the way, forgot him and offended him. They did not reach the Promised Land, notwithstanding Moses’ intercession for them. So too, will there be Christians who will fail to reach the promised heaven he has prepared for them, notwithstanding the sufferings and death of Christ on the cross on their behalf. But any Christian who prays frequently will not be among that number. For even if we offend him through human weakness, if we have the humility to turn to him and ask his pardon, he will forgive. The sinner who prays cannot remain long a sinner, the saint who gives up prayer will not remain a saint for very long.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Guardian_Angel_with_Girl.jpg

Ps 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth

I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;

whence shall help come to me?

My help is from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

May he not suffer your foot to slip;

may he slumber not who guards you:

indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,

the guardian of Israel.

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;

he is beside you at your right hand.

The sun shall not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The LORD will guard you from all evil;

he will guard your life.

The LORD will guard your coming and your going,

both now and forever.

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

READING II

st-paul-icon-700px-967x1024

 

2 Tm 3:14-4:2

Beloved:

Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,

because you know from whom you learned it,

and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,

which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation

through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is inspired by God

and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,

and for training in righteousness,

so that one who belongs to God may be competent,

equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,

who will judge the living and the dead,

and by his appearing and his kingly power:

proclaim the word;

be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;

convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”1

For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”2

CCC 1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”3

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.4

1 DV 11.

2 DV 11; cf. Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pt 1:19-21; 3:15-16.

3 1 Tim 5; cf. 8:9; 2 Tim 3; 1 Pet 3:21; Acts 24:16.

4 GS 16.

APPLICATION

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the vault of heaven reveals his handiwork” say the psalmist (Ps. 19: 1). A true saying surely. Any thinking man who observes this universe with its unity in diversity, with its multiplicity of being, their constitutional laws written in their very nature, and none having an internal explanation for its own existence must rationally conclude that some supremely intelligent and supremely powerful Being brought this universe into existence. St. Paul, following the author of the book of Wisdom (13: 1-9). says that the pagans are inexcusable when they claim ignorance of the true God, for “ever since God created the world, his everlasting power and deity—however invisible—have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made” (Rom. 1: 18-32).

God has made himself known to man therefore through his creatures–“the work of his hands.” He knew the weakness and the narrow outlook of man who frequently fails to raise himself above the things of earth. Furthermore, he had planned for man’s elevation to a supernatural status. And so he chose Abraham to be the ancestor of the One who would elevate man. A much more detailed knowledge of himself was given to Abraham and his descendants in God’s dealings with them and in his special revelations to them. He saw to it that this detailed knowledge would be preserved and guaranteed for all time by making himself the co-author of the sacred books of scripture.

It is of this act of generosity and love toward us on the part of God, that St. Paul reminds Timothy in the verses we have read today. We could and should recognize God–a supreme, omnipotent, omniscient Being–as our Creator to whom we should give honor and thanks. And by so doing, we could reach the destiny which God has planned for us from all eternity, as many pagans have done and will do. But this kind of relationship with a Creator, to whom we owed everything, would be a rather cold and legalistic one, that of slave to Master, when compared with the warm relationship of children to their loving father, which his special revelation has brought to our knowledge.

The Old Testament sacred books, to which St. Paul is referring today, show us God as a Father of infinite love, of infinite generosity, of infinite patience with stubborn, ungrateful children. He made the descendants of Abraham his special Chosen People. He gave them innumerable temporal blessings. He was a true Father to them all through their history, even though they were often unruly and ungrateful children. He did all of this in order to prepare the way for the advent of his divine Son in human nature. He became one of us by his Incarnation and thus raised us up to the status of brothers of his and therefore, sons of God.

This was the divine plan before creation began. God saw to it that the record of its period of preparation would be preserved forever in the books of the Old Testament. The story of the fulfillment would be preserved in the New. He moved the will of the human authors of these books to write them. He enlightened and assisted their intellects in the collection and arrangement of the material. He saw to it, by his special assistance, that what they wrote was the truth and nothing but the truth. This was the teaching of the Jewish authorities. It has been the teaching of the Christian Church down through the centuries. We have sacred books whose co-Author is none other than God himself. In these sacred books we can get a knowledge of God which surpasses any and all the conclusions which our human intellects could deduce from the work of his hands, which we see about us in creation.

While the knowledge of God, which our human intellects could and should discover, was true and valuable for salvation, the knowledge of him which we get from his inspired books is much more intimate and more detailed. We, know that he is a Father who loves us. He sent his Son to become one of us. That Son represented us and by his perfect obedience “even unto the death on the cross,” he obtained for us pardon for all our acts of disobedience. By sharing in our humanity he earned for us a share in the divinity. By dying he saved us from eternal death. By his resurrection he became the first-fruits of the return of all men from their graves, to live forever in the future world.

This is what our Bible contains–the history of God’s intimate relations with man and the facts concerning his eternal plans for our everlasting happiness. No wonder it has been called “the greatest story ever told.” No wonder it has and will always be a “best-seller.” Other books are useful, they help us in one way or another to earn a livelihood, and make our way through this life. This Bible is essential. It helps us to get to know God and his loving plans for us. It enables us (coupled with the other aids which Christ has left to his Church) to fulfill our real purpose in life, and to reach the reward prepared so lovingly for us after our death.

GOSPEL

6549143973ffe453add2f5f749d08ab8.jpg

Lk 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always

without becoming weary.  He said, “There was a judge in a certain town

who neither feared God nor respected any human being.

And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,

‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’

For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,

‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,

because this widow keeps bothering me

I shall deliver a just decision for her

lest she finally come and strike me.'”

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones

who call out to him day and night?

Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.1 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth2 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.3

CCC 2098 The acts of faith, hope, and charity enjoined by the first commandment are accomplished in prayer. Lifting up the mind toward God is an expression of our adoration of God: prayer of praise and thanksgiving, intercession and petition. Prayer is an indispensable condition for being able to obey God’s commandments. “[We] ought always to pray and not lose heart.”4

CCC 2573 God renews his promise to Jacob, the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel.5 Before confronting his elder brother Esau, Jacob wrestles all night with a mysterious figure who refuses to reveal his name, but he blesses him before leaving him at dawn. From this account, the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance.6

CCC 2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:

The first, “the importunate friend,”7 invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.

The second, “the importunate widow,”8 is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,”9 concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!

1 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.

2 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.

3 Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.

4 Lk 18:1.

5 Cf. Gen 28:10-22.

6 Cf. Gen 32:24-30; Lk 18:1-8.

7 Cf. Lk 11:5-13.

8 Cf. Lk 18:1-8.

9 Cf. Lk 18:9-14.

APPLICATION

There are many devout Christians who are deeply puzzled by what they think is God’s indifference to their fervent pleas for spiritual favors, which to them appear essential in their journey heavenwards. These people would readily admit that God has good reasons for not granting temporal favors–they might not be for their eternal good. Why refuse or delay granting their spiritual needs? The man or woman who has dedicated his or her life exclusively to the service of God still suffers from human weaknesses. He or she is attracted to worldly things, is finding humility and obedience very difficult, suffers from dryness in prayer or worse still is scrupulous to a degree that makes the religious life almost unbearable. Such people could work so much better for God and for their neighbor if only God would remove these weaknesses which, in fact, he could so easily do. .

Or again, why should whole nations of devout Christians suffer persecution from atheistic tyrants? See their children brought up deprived of the right to practice their faith, or, worse still, taught to despise it? Surely God should answer the prayers of these good people and the fervent prayers of millions of their fellow-Christians on their behalf …

These and many similar questionings arise in our minds because our limited, human intellects can see but one small section of the immense tapestry which God is weaving for the human race. We would all like immediate results in our own tiny comer of that tapestry while the all-wise God is occupied with the whole picture. He is not forgetting us either. If he delays in answering our urgent appeals, we can be certain that the reason is not that he wants to punish us, but rather to help us. There are many saints in heaven who would perhaps never have become saints if God had not allowed them to struggle on longer than they would have wished, against trials and difficulties–spiritual as well as physical.

Our divine Lord teaches us, in this parable, the need for perseverance in prayer. This perseverance develops our trust and confidence in God. It helps us to become humble and to realize how weak we are when left to ourselves. It keeps us close to God, as we learn how dependent we are on his generosity. If we only would realize that God is perhaps never closer to us than when we think he is forgetting us! The trials of life, spiritual or temporal, which he allows us to suffer are not obstacles to our spiritual progress but rather step-ping-stones without which we could not cross the rivers of life at all.

God wants every one of us in heaven but just as no two men on earth have the same identical features, so also no two men on earth have the same road to lead them to heaven. God is supervising the journey of each one of us. He is ever there to help if the obstacle on one’s road is insurmountable. We may and we must, keep asking God for the spiritual and temporal favors which we feel we need. We must never grow despondent or feel that God has lost interest in us, if he delays in granting these favors. When we shall look back on our earthly journey from the happy vantage point of heaven, we shall see how effectively and how lovingly God regulated our journey. When he did not grant a certain favor it was because he had a much more important one to give us, one we did not ask for or even realize we needed.

“Ask and you shall receive,” not perhaps what you wanted, but what God knew you needed. “Seek and you shall find,” not the easy way which you thought you deserved, but the harder way which would make you more deserving of heaven. “Knock and it shall be opened unto you,” not the door you were standing at, which would have delayed or endangered your progress, but the door further down the street where refreshment and new courage to continue on your upward climb were awaiting you.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission from Franciscan Press.

BENEDICTUS

Christianity as Revelation

We can say of the Christian faith, in line with the faith of Abraham, that no one simply finds it there as his possession. It never comes out of what we have ourselves. It breaks in from outside. That is still always the way. Nobody is born a Christian, not even in a Christian world and of Christian parents. Being Christian can only ever happen as a new birth. Being a Christian begins with Baptism, which is death and Resurrection (Rom ^), not with biological birth… The Christian faith is not the product of our experiences; rather, it is an event that comes to us from without. Faith is based on our meeting something (or someone) for which our capacity for experiencing things is inadequate. IT is not our experience that is widened or deepened… but something happens. The categories of “encounter,” “otherness;” “event,” describe the inner origins of the Christian faith and indicate the limitations of the concept of “experience.” Certainly, what touches us there effects an experience in us, but experience as the result of an event, not of reaching deeper into ourselves. This is exactly what is meant by the concept of revelation: something not ours, not to be found in what we have, comes to me and takes me out of myself, above myself, creates something new. That also determines the historical nature of Christianity, which is based on events and not on becoming aware of the depths of one’s own inner self, what is called “illumination.” The Trinity is not the object of our experience but is something that has to be uttered from outside, that comes to me from outside as “revelation.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Advertisements

About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
This entry was posted in agnostic, athiest, Benedictine, Bible Study, Catholic, Christian, faith, Heaven, hell, Holy Spirit, Liturgy, mercy, Oblate, prayer, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.