Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).
The Final Step
The readings today focus on a trait that Jesus wants us to have when we are praying for something. This trait is persistence or perseverance. He wants us to continue praying until we get what we are asking for.
In the first reading we have the case of Moses who persisted in having his hands outstretched in prayer to God while Joshua fought against the descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau who was the twin brother of Jacob or Israel. When Moses got tired and lowered his hands the Amalekites won the battle, but when Moses persisted in raising his hands with the help of Aaron and his sons, Joshua won the battle.
In the second reading we heard St. Paul telling Timothy and us to "proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching."
And in the Gospel we have St. Luke telling us that Jesus told a parable to his listeners "about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary".
Three readings about the value of persistence or perseverance. Jesus said elsewhere, "The man who holds out to the end, however, is the one who will see salvation" (Matthew 24:13). Holding out to the end is essential in our Christian life.
Some of you have heard about the persistence of the inventor Thomas Alva Edison in trying to produce the incandescent lamp. He tried more than a thousand ways to produce this electric lamp. Some have estimated between 5 thousand and 10 thousand attempts. There is a record that Edison's lamp factory conducted 2,774 experiments to produce this light bulb.
What almost all of us have not heard is about the number of times Edison experimented to produce the alkaline battery, the battery we use in our flashlights and watches and computers and cell phones. This involved more than 10,000 experiments. There is a story that a fellow sympathized with him for not being able to produce the battery that he desired and said something like, 'Isn't it a waste of time doing all those experiments without producing any result?' Edison is said to have immediately answered with a smile, 'Results! Why man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won't work!'
Such was the persistence of this famous inventor who openly acknowledged that he did not believe in the God of the theologians. If such a person who was considered by many as not Christian could be so persistent, how much more we who claim and profess that we are God's children and brother of Jesus the Son of God?
If there is one person who is perfectly persistent in his prayers for us, it is Jesus. Scriptures say that day and night he offered prayers to God for us. The writer to the Hebrews says, "In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to God, who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence (5:7). And now he intercedes for us day and night before his Father God. In the Christian Prayer which some of us use we join Jesus in his interceding for the whole of humanity and creation.
We know from the Gospels that Jesus spent whole nights in prayer. That is how persistent he was in prayer. We read in St. Luke's Gospel, "Then he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray spending the night in communion with God." (6:12).
And if there is a person who desires most to end the poverty, violence, corruption, dehumanization around us, it is Jesus. His main method of implementing this desire that he has is prayer, persistent prayer to his heavenly Father. This is what he tells us in the parable we heard from the Gospel today. The persistent prayer of the widow changed the mind of the corrupt judge. Our persistent prayer will hasten our integral liberation, not only liberation from sin and its root, but also from its fruits, the poverty and violence we see around us today. That is why Jesus caused the Book of Revelation to be written by his Spirit through John so that he and his whole church prepare for and hasten this day when "He (God) shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away" (21:4).
In the end the final step of God is to vindicate us his saints, just like the unjust judge who vindicated the widow in the Gospel we heard today. And our final step is to persist, persevere in prayer. As the bookmark of St. Teresa of Jesus reads, "Patience wins all things."
Let us pray bowing our heads. Lord Jesus, you and your Church today remind us to persist in prayer. Give us the grace of persevering in prayer so that we hasten the day when poverty and violence will be completely banished from our minds and from our midst. In your gracious name we pray. Amen.
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Note for the readers:
The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.
NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.
AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.