TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Faith and Perseverance
Evil is unscrupulous. Its demands and impositions enslaving. It is unsparing in its efforts to exploit any available loopholes and subtlety launch its attacks on the unsuspecting. Dishonesty, wickedness, unnecessary conflicts, and injustice are its traits. It stands in stark contrast with uprightness, justice, truth, integrity, and impartiality. Its twisted interest does not permit it a sense of compassion, love, mercy and solidarity. The notion of solidarity evades it from every angle. However, it takes faith just the size of a mustard seed to push back the mighty sod of evil to create a haven for the birds of the air to make their nests.
Faith and prayer are like two mustard seeds in the hands of the defenseless widows among us. Never underestimate the prayer of the poor (Ps.34: 2-3.5-7.18-19). Never oppress the weak and the poor. It is God himself you are mocking (Prov.17:5) and God will fight their battles for them while they are still (Exod.14:14).
Faith and prayer in every given human situation and condition, when tested requires integrity, stillness, persistence, endurance and hope. With these simple weapons, we are more than conquerors in our battles against all principalities and powers (Eph.6:10-20). The story of the importunate widow and the unjust judge (Lk.18:1-8), the victory of Israel over the Amalekites and the unrelenting prayers of Moses are demonstrations that faith in God and prayer, together, are unconquerable. Faith and persistent prayers brings God right into the heart of the battle and struggle and allow him to win the war for us. The Psalmist puts it most succinctly: “I lift my eyes to the mountains: from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord who made heaven and earth. May he never allow you to stumble! Let him sleep not, your guard. No, he sleeps not nor slumbers, Israel’s guard (Ps.120).’
The old St. Lucian maxim says, “Bondyé kouché mé i pa ka domi.” (God sleeps; he never slumbers). He is the perfect guardian of humankind (Ps. 121:4). In faith, we can depend on God in any given human condition. In this context, Paul challenges us to take cognizance of the importance of sacred scripture. He admonishes us to utilize scripture to its utmost to achieve the level of perfection God has in mind for us (2Tim.3:16-17).
The defeat of the Amalekites and the remorseless judge vis-à-vis the persistence of Moses and the widow demonstrate that those who stand with God in faith, no adverse climatic, social, political, economic condition and human conflict can overwhelm the power of God’s love for those who trust in him (Rom.8:35-37). God will protect those who invoke his name (Ps.91:14; Acts 2:21). If we are failures in our respective battles it is only because we fail to trust God, we refuse to invoke his name. It is also a sign that faith has weakened on our part or we have ceased praying.
O God, keep me always on bended knees like Moses, the importunate widow and like your Son in the garden. Be my guardian as long as I live.