The Lord is With Us

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Prayer is our means of communication with God and it is the means to experience our closeness to him. At the same time, prayer is personal because it comes from our heart. It is a means to express our feelings and emotions, placing them before God. It is also a way to show our faith in God in whom we believe. We place ourselves humbly before our Lord and totally submit ourselves to him.

Today’s first reading from the book of Exodus tells us that Amalek fought with Israel at Rephidim; why? The previous verse leaves the open question, ‘Is the Lord with us or not?’ (Exodus 17: 7) I think the war answers that question. God will be with Israel and give them victory. Israel will see the hand of God at work during the prayer of Moses. Moses sent Joshua to fight with Amalek while he, accompanied by Aaron and Hur, stood on the top of the hill with the staff in his hand. As long as Moses kept his hands up, Israel was victorious. When he lowered his hands, Amalek was victorious. When Moses became tired of keeping his hands up in the air, Aaron and Hur put a stone under Moses so he could sit on it. Then they went on each of his sides, each one holding Moses’ hands up until the sunset. Finally, Joshua defeated Amalek because Moses was able to keep his hands up raised in prayer.

Today’s second reading from St. Paul reminds us of the importance of the scriptures in our Christian journey of faith. As an inspired word of God, the scriptures must be the guiding principle of our daily lives. If we remain faithful to God in continuous prayer, God will come to our assistance.

In the Gospel account, Jesus explains the importance of continuous prayer. He told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually without becoming weary. The Gospel tells us not to be discouraged if we do not receive an immediate response to our prayers.

This particular judge, Jesus says, was a “dishonest” person who cared for no one, neither God nor man. The widow, on the other hand, was a helpless person looking for justice with regard to her own property. God is her only protector. She has one powerful weapon which is prayer. Her persistence takes away the judge’s peace. Finally, the unjust judge is forced to give judgment.

The judge in the parable does not represent God. The judge is unjust and doesn’t care about what this widow needs. Jesus tells this parable to his disciples to help them to understand that if this judge who is unjust finally listens to the woman’s request and grants her justice, how much more will a loving and just God answer the petitions of his own children who cry out for help.

Life has its ups and downs. When we are down, especially as we prepare for cold, wintry weather, it doesn’t mean we should become weary. It means it is time to come closer to our Father in heaven and to trust Him even more. We often hear the words that there is a reason for everything. Even in our darkest moments, God will come to redeem us and to let us see His glory. How true it is that those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything.

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