Exodus 17, 8-13
- It sounds much too instrumental as I listen. I will be standing on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.
And as long as Moses kept his hands raised… What can we learn from this for our own empirical times?
- And what is the setting? Tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. Israel, like the early followers of Muhammad, confirms the
sovereignty of its God in battle. What can our assembly find redeeming in this? Or perhaps they may draw the wrong lesson, if they are enthralled with the worship
of a nation god.
- Amalek came and provoked the situation. And so Moses
does not have to consult God, for the people has no choice but to defend itself. Pick out certain men and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek. I speak it decisively, especially Moses’ promise to stand on the hill.
- As long as Moses kept
his hands raised. Moses and
the troops are as one, and so I read. Raised hands mean a raised and taut voice. When he let his hands rest, so do I relax
my own voice.
- Today’s Gospel passage talks about insistence. Praying and achieving God’s promise are steady and plodding work.
Moses climbed the hill, hands raised,
hands tired, hands steady till sunset.
All the more reason for me to grind
my way through the first reading, pausing frequently as I go.
- Aaron and Hur supported
his hands. It should sound like hard work.
- Climax: His hands remained
steady until sunset.
- Message for our assembly: When we give God the glory in front
of the media, during our moments of earthly triumph, let us remember that God’s ways are not our ways. Lincoln’s words come to mind: “As
God gives us to see the right.”
- I will challenge myself: To read neither in an unengaged nor credulous
way, but with the same faith in which Israel
has handed down this story. Let the church engage, too, praying and willing ancient
Israel on to victory.
II Timothy 3, 14 to 4, 2
- First I hear of a learning process. Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed. I notice that
the apostle did not say “understood.” And I don’t think he
meant decrees or catechisms. This is not far from the attitude we demand of the
professions in our own society.
- You know from whom you learned it. He means an apprenticeship, and not in a classroom either, but on
the footpaths of Asia Minor and Greece. Let me take my time as I describe the process and the subject matter.
- The sacred scriptures are
capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. In
other words, they convey wisdom and lead to achievement of salvation, if we read and ingest them in faith. Take my time so that the whole meaning can be unwound in the minds of my listeners.
- All scripture is inspired by God and is useful. Again the goal is not just to memorize phrases for their own sake, but to put them to use. Make it flow easily and naturally from hearing the word to carrying out every good work.
- Now we move from learning to speaking. Proclaim the word; be persistent. And the disciple is not alone. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus. The references to judging, appearing and kingly power mean the Christ in glory who is being made manifest, the Christ in whom we also believe
- Encourage through all patience and teaching. If the ministry sounds in my mouth like a tireless whirlwind of activity, then I have conveyed the right
- Climax: I charge you: proclaim the word.
This passage was once read during the masses in honor of holy teachers of the church.
- The message for our assembly: To what extent is our own maturity in the faith due to the example of noble men and women
- I will challenge myself: To give the right solemnity to this moment when the elder apostle hands on the teaching function
to his disciple.
Luke 18, 1-8
- The necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. The theme runs through the Gospel of Luke and other parts of scripture. I interpret the parable at the beginning, just as I will at the end.
- There was a judge in a certain town … and a widow in that town. I note that neither seems to be deeply
religious. The judge who neither feared
nor respected might be a kind of party boss who answers to no one. That is
not the point. Jesus can read the signs of the times from everyday events; can
- Render a just decision for me against my adversary. Do I say it loudly or softly? Well, she
is not knocking on the door. She may be in the marketplace, waiting all day for
him to pass by. I don’t think she will shout and embarrass him, but catch
him alone. He is putting off his judgment, just as a politician might try to
avoid an unpopular vote. Let me maintain the tension for a while.
- Neither does the judge want a public showdown where she finally comes and strikes
me. I will say it in the sense of resolution.
- Pay attention to the dishonest judge. So Jesus will compare his Father with this atheist? He will see to it that justice is done speedily.
- When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? It sounds a little like the rescue teams looking for survivors in the rubble. Will we hold out? But this is our savior
coming, and he challenges us. Will we come through?
- Climax: Will he be slow to answer them?
I just happen to be listening to some sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., and I know he’ll help me find the right
- Message for our assembly: Are we persistent in asking for the Spirit, for the Kingdom, for wisdom, for whatever is
good and builds the church? Last week many of us observed with devotion some
unusual reflections on an altar cloth. Do we pay as much attention to our spiritual
- I will challenge myself: To challenge the assembly in their prayer growth.
From Word to Eucharist: How
easy it is to rise and join the procession today. And yet how far we have traveled
since the last time. Have we been persistent?
Have we grown into a deeper love for the word of God and the sacrament of unity?