29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – C
Why do we have to ask God in prayer when He already knows what we need long before we even prayed? Does God not hear outright that we have to pray again and again for the same intentions? The first reading and the gospel this Sunday remind us about the three aspects of prayer: communion, persistence and faith.
The Gospel of St. Luke is also called the gospel of prayer. It shows us Jesus as a pray-er! After a busy day Jesus would always find a time to pray. Prayer for Jesus was the time to re-connect Himself with the Father and re-charged Himself with the energy from His Father. In short, prayer was about communion between the Father and Jesus! In our present language, we call it “bonding moment” or “spending quality time with a loved one”. We understand it better in terms of relationship. When we love somebody, we want to spend time with him/her that is why we wish to spend the rest of our lives with our loved ones. It is one of the longings of the human heart that differentiates us from all other animals. We just do not belong but we become part of a communion. The first reading tells us about the power of intercession. Moses acted as an intercessor for the Israelites; he was a pray-er for them. As long as his hands were lifted up in prayer, the Israelites were winning the battle against the Amalekites so that Aaron and Hur held up his arms until sunset and defeated the enemies. This is called intercessory prayer when somebody acts as a mediator on behalf of a person who is in need. We see this in the celebration of the Mass when the priest raises his arms in prayer lifting up the needs of the Church gathered in the Eucharist. It is also a powerful gesture of the priest as if embracing the congregation like a father uniting his gathered children in prayer. This is the reason why we pray for each other because in the power of communion, we are each other’s mediators! Jesus is our mediator par excellence before God our Father.
The second aspect of prayer is persistence as shown in the parable of the unjust judge and the widow. If the judge who was unjust could give justice to the widow because of her annoying persistence, how much more with God who is merciful and just? God is not deaf that we have to pray again and again for the same intention. More often in the many times that we keep coming back to God, we are able to purify our intentions, we become closer to Him and we become more humble.
The third aspect of prayer is faith. Prayer is an act of faith! Whenever we pray, we believe that God hears us although sometimes He delays or answers us in a different way. Parents will have to delay a gift being asked by their child knowing the best time when it should be given. Sometimes they do not give in to what the child wants knowing it is harmful but rather give the child what they thought is best for him! Because God is the Father who knows the best for His children, we just have to believe that our prayers will be answered in the appropriate time or in the manner which is best for us.
To those who do not lose heart in prayer become winners because the prayer of the humble melts the heart of God!