A reading from the Book of Exodus
Chapter 17: 8-13
It seems that Israel was always fighting some foreign power. In the episode described in this passage, it was the Amalekites. The Israelites have a special power: As long as Moses, stationed on a hilltop, holds aloft the staff of God. in his hand. But eventually his arms grow tired, and the tide of battle turns in the Amalekites’ favor. The passage tells us that “Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Once again, as throughout the history of Israel, God supports his chosen people. The message for us is that today God also supports us in our darkest times.
“Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” We see, in the episode described in the Book of Exodus, a dramatic example of this declaration. Do you believe that God is there for you in your most troubling times? Sometimes, that is difficult to believe, but it is at those very times when we need to have deep faith.
A reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy
Paul encourages Timothy to be strengthened by the Scriptures, because “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” At this point, the early Christians had begun to write down the story of Jesus and his followers. Preserving these memories inspired them to believe in the face of persecution and even death. We do not live with the kind of persecution they faced, but there are challenges to our faith that come from within our society and sometimes even from within our Church. We are called to remain faithful to the Spirit that lives within us and all around us. How and when does the Spirit speak to you?
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
This is a parable about a poor widow who kept asking a stubborn judge to rule in her favor in a dispute with an adversary. “For a long time, the judge was unwilling,” Luke writes, but finally the judge decided that, because the woman was so persistent, he would “deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.” Then Jesus says, “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” For us, it’s a lesson on persistence in prayer.
Painting: Victory, O Lord, John Everitt Millais, 1871. Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, United Kingdom. Public domain.
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.
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.