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Catholic Diocese of Umuahia


A reflection for the 29th Sunday of the Ordinary Time, Year C.
By Fr. Francis Onwunali
Sun, 20 Oct 2019

"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" (Ex. 17: 11). The central theme of this 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C anchors on consistency and perseverance in prayer. 

The first reading (Ex. 17: 8-13) presents intercession and action as two side of reaching out to God in prayers. To defeat the Amalekites in battle, Moses had to reach out to God raising his hand in praise supported by Aaron and Hur, while Joshua and the men do the physical battle. God needs us to do our own part in receiving the blessings He has in store for us.

The Psalmist prayed: “I lifted up my eyes to the mountain: from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Joshua and the men in battle were told to look up to the hilltop where Moses raised the staff of God. They did and were victorious. Moses prefigures Jesus who on the hilltop of Calvary stretched out His hands to intercede and liberate us. Moses with the staff of God in his hands defeated Israel’s enemies (Ex. 7: 8-12), separated the Red Sea (Ex 14: 16) and brought forth water from the rock (Ex. 17: 6). The Cross of Jesus is the staff of God we have to look up to for liberation and victory over sin and death; from the wounded side of Jesus gushes water and blood, the stream of living water and life, from where grace and mercy flow to us. Do you look up to Jesus in every situation with and expectant and unwavering faith?

 In the gospel (Luke 18: 1-8), Jesus instructs His disciples on the importance of perseverance in prayer with the story of an unjust judge who neither fear God nor respect any man and the widow. 

Dear friends, unlike the unjust judge, God is always ready to listen and answer our prayer. As we pray, we need to do something about the situation we are praying for. Again, God will not be happy to be treated like a "spare tyre" only to be looked for when needed. Prayer has to be an attitude of relationship with God and the source of that relationship is the Word of God. St. Paul today admonishes Timothy (2 Tm. 3: 14- 4: 2) to make the Word of God his daily companion and a guide to living with and in God. Since the Scriptures, the Word of God are inspired, and in reading, listening and living it out, we become inspired, the Holy Spirit now "helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rm. 8: 26). 

I pray as we journey in life today, we will in joys and sorrows, in success and failures, in breakthroughs and setbacks, remain focused knowing that God will surely intervene in God's own way and time. As you constantly commune with God in prayer, "may He never allow you to stumble..., may He guard your soul from evil and guard your every going and coming both now and forever" (Ps. 120). On this Mission Sunday, may we prayerfully, materially and personally be involved in supporting missionary activities. Have a Happy and Prayer-full Sunday.

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