"Hear the Word!" by Bill Ayres: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 18, 2019 7:00:43 AM

A reading from the second Book of Exodus
(Chapter 17:8-13)
The Amalekites were a tribal desert people who did not like these new people, the Israelites, entering their land sometime after the exodus from Egypt. And so, the Amalekites attacked. Moses told Joshua to resist: “‘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.’ … 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.” The key here is that the “staff of God,” is the sign of God’s power and protection. But Moses could not do it all by himself, he needed the help of Aaron and Hur.
So often, God’s power and protection for us comes through the help of others. Have you experienced that in your life when someone was there for you or you for someone? The power of God is not some kind of magic. It often comes through the support and kindness of others.
Responsorial Psalm
(Psalm 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8)
“Our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” When does this happen? Later in this Psalm, the author tells us. “The Lord will guard your coming and going, both now and forever.” Let us remember a time when God helped us, and give thanks. Actually, the presence of God is not far away. God lives in each of us, but all too often we forget and feel disconnected. Prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist help us to reconnect.
A reading from second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy
(Chapter 2:8-13)
“Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed.” That is great advice, but suppose you learned some of the wrong teachings. Suppose you were taught that God was a judgmental, disconnected force somewhere “up there” in heaven. Suppose you were taught that “You’d better be good, or God will punish you.” Then your basic relationship with God would be founded on fear. Where do you find the true God? Paul tells Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training and righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
I was not taught very much from Scripture as a child but as an adult I have found reading from Scripture to be enlightening and faith filled. I hope that your experience of the Scriptures, listening and reading, has been life-giving. A whole world of wonder and grace is to be found there.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
(Chapter 18:1-8)
“Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. 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 might finally come and strike me.’” Then Jesus makes his point: “Then will not God 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.”
The point of this parable is persistence. The widow was on the bottom of the social scale in Israel, and yet, even she received an answer because she was such a persistent pest. Of course, God does not think of us as pests when we pray, but Jesus is suggesting that we need to be persistent in prayer. You might ask how we can actually change God’s mind with our persistence. That is not the point. Our persistence can help us to change our own minds and hearts to be able to listen to and follow God’s help.
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Image courtesy of
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

Bill Ayres

Written by Bill Ayres

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

See all