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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Ninth (29th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (Mission Sunday, October 20 2013)

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Ninth (29th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (Mission Sunday, October 20 2013)
Theme: Prayer and Authentic Missionary Activity

On this 29th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year C which is also the World Mission Sunday, we are reminded of our missionary roles in the world. A missionary is one chosen and sent by God to a people and a land to do His will. As Christians we are all missionaries of God in the world trying to do the will of God. In the first reading (Exodus 17:8-13), we encounter Moses as a missionary leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land. When they were attacked by the Amalekites at Rephidim, Moses instructed Joshua on what to do while he went up to pray. He augmented the physical efforts of the Israelites with the power of prayer. As long as his hands remained lifted up, the Israelites took advantage over their opponents until they defeated them.

It is not uncommon as missionaries in our own way that we live in an environment where several challenges confront us in the course of doing the will of God. The action of Moses is for us an example to follow. When we encounter difficulties in our missionary activities, whether religious or secular, we have to resort to prayer despite the human strategies we might put in place. Only God can guarantee us victory though sometimes, through the strategies we put in place. Prayer augments our human efforts in the quest for victory. It is not a mere communication with God, it is a relationship with God. Though God is not bound to obey our voices in prayer, He has bound Himself to listen to our voices in prayer by commanding that we pray in and out of season.

That is why the gospel reading (Luke 18:1-8) presents us with the Parable of the Unjust Judge, to show us the power of persistence in prayer. An authentic missionary does not just pray enough but prays until something positive happens. Traditionally, we find ourselves represented in this poor widow who is constantly seeking for justice from God who is represented in the unjust judge. Though God is never unjust, Jesus prefers to use this description to portray how far our persistent prayers could influence God. Persistent prayer is not simply the attitude of frequent prayer but the manifestation of a conviction that God can and will grant our requests. Persistence in prayer signals our belief in God’s omnipotence and benevolence; that He has both the power and the goodwill to grant our request though He may be late.

Authentic missionaries are not those who expect God to grant their requests first but those who heed to divine requests first. For this reason, we may not be wrong if we invert the representation of characters in today’s gospel reading. God could be represented in the poor widow who is seeking justice in the hands of the unjust judge representing us. Can we simply obey God based on the persistent requests He is making on our souls? We do not only need missionaries whom God will grant their requests but also those who will grant the numerous requests God is making today. We do not only need missionaries who pray persistently but also those who are persistent in goodwill and the practice of virtues.

Authentic missionary activity requires fidelity to the rules of mission. These rules are contained in the Scripture which is our Rule of Faith. Authentic missionaries are not only faithful to the letters of the Scripture but also to its spirit. It is through the Scripture that we can truly communicate with God the owner of the mission. For this reason, the second reading (2 Timothy 3:14-4:2) reminds us that all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, refuting error, correcting and training in righteousness. Therefore beloved friends, prompted by the Words of the Scripture today, let us pray for the grace to be authentic and prayerful missionaries. Let us also pray that God will keep strengthening those He has called in a special way for mission that their strength will be constantly renewed. Happy Sunday for God loves you.

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