By persevering in prayer, we share in Christ’s life

| Deacon Matt Shireman | October 13, 2016 | 1 Comment

Both the first reading and the Gospel from Oct. 16 speak about the importance of persistent prayer. Moses is an Old Testament figure for intercessory prayer. In the first reading, he prays for Joshua and the army of Israelites who are in battle against the Amelkites. Moses’ two helpers, Aaron and Hur, are with him on top of a mountain during this time of prayer and ultimately, they hold his hands up so that the Israelites win the battle.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples to not become weary in prayer. He uses a parable of a widow who repeatedly approaches a judge asking to receive a just decision from him. Her persistence is what gets the judge to give her the just verdict.

We can be tempted to become weary in prayer when the situation that we have been praying for seems to never change.

October, as Respect Life Month, calls to mind Roe v. Wade, an unjust judgment that was decided many years before I was born. I have been praying for an end to abortion throughout my life, especially since becoming more involved in my Catholic faith. Unfortunately, it can seem that little ground has been made in building a culture of life, particularly in the conversion of some pro-abortion politicians.

On a different note, the daily praying for the conversion (or re-conversion) of a loved one can also seem like a prayer that is not being answered. We have St. Monica as an example of a woman who prayed day after day for the conversion of her son Augustine. We know that she saw the fulfillment of her prayers; St. Augustine became one of the greatest saints in the Church.

In the responsorial psalm, we hear, “Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Truly, our God is all-powerful. He also loves us more than we could ever know. This means that he desires great things, like our salvation, infinitely more than we do. So we should — and need to — believe that “justice will be done speedily” for us, as in Jesus’ words.

As painful as it can be to see injustices in the world or to see a loved one turn a back on God, Jesus experienced a much greater pain on the cross. He who did not know sin accepted the ultimate unjust judgment for our sins. On the cross, Jesus’ hands were held up by two nails as he prayed for us. He persevered in his prayer for us until his last breath and won the great battle over sin.

We participate in the same prayer of Jesus, especially when we unite ourselves to him in the eucharistic sacrifice. We trust that through our prayer, God will change our hearts to love as Jesus loves — a love of total gift to others whether or not they respond the way we think they should. And that love is truly freeing.

Deacon Shireman is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is
St. Victoria in Victoria, and his home parish is St. Therese in Deephaven.


Sunday, Oct. 16
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings

  • Ex 17:8-13
  • 2 Tm 3:14-4:2
  • Lk 18:1-8

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Category: Sunday Scriptures

  • Kim

    Deacon Shireman, I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear your wise words today. Thank you, and thanks for your “Yes” to the call to Priesthood.