We are celebrating World Mission Sunday this week. World Mission Sunday reminds us that we are a missionary people. Today, on Mission Sunday, we recommit ourselves to our common vocation, through Baptism, to be missionaries, through prayer, participation in the Eucharist, and by giving generously to the missionary activities of the Church. On this World Mission Sunday let us pray for missionaries and support the mission of the Church. Your support will help clinics caring for the sick and dying, orphanages providing a place of safety and shelter for children, schools offering education from kindergarten through high school, seminaries for training men to enter the priesthood, and other facilities and programs for the formation of religious Sisters and Brothers. Your financial support will be directed to more than 1,111 mission dioceses, mostly in Africa and Asia, where the poorest of the poor receive an education and health care while experiencing the loving heart of our Lord through the service of priests, religious, and the lay faithful.
The theme of this week’s readings is prayer—perseverance in prayer, constancy in prayer and trust in God as we pray. In the first reading, Moses and Aaron understood the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” When Joshua was fighting the battle against the Amalekites. At that time, Israel’s resources were inadequate, and their morale was at an all-time low point. Realizing the desperate nature of the situation, Moses stood on top of the mountain overlooking the battleground and prayed. He prayed fervently for Israel with outstretched arms. As he grew weary, his two aides, who were seated by him on a rock, supported his upraised arms. “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.” The reading reminds us of the power of prayer, praying for one another.
Paul, in the second reading, tells Timothy—and all of us—that he must persevere in prayer, in the practice of Faith, and in preaching the word of God. Paul advised Timothy to “preach the word, stay with the task, whether convenient or inconvenient, correcting, reproving, appealing, constantly teaching and never losing patience.” “Whether the time is favorable or unfavorable,” Paul continued, “proclaim the message” and “carry out your ministry fully.” Our own ministry is to worship the Lord, share the Gospel with others, and to bear witness to Christ by growing in discipleship and serving our neighbors lovingly as Jesus did.
By introducing the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” The widow was asking for something which God would certainly want for her, as well as the rest of us—justice. Constancy in prayer is Faith in action. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of trust and persistence, two characteristics with which Jesus told his disciples to pray.
We have to trust God to bring about that which He has promised. In praying, we show our confidence that our God hears, cares, and acts even if we don’t always get what we ask for. When we pray for something as essential as “healing,” we are making a rather amazing statement of Faith in the goodness of a loving and providing God. Jesus calls us, with the example of the widow and the unjust judge, to have Faith, to trust that God in his Goodness will bring about the Justice we all seek and the blessings we all require in response to our prayers. However, it is human nature to seek immediate response to our prayers. The parable reminds us of our shortcomings and the need for God in our life. Therefore, let us persevere and be constantly persistent like the widow. We may not get everything we need, but we still pray because we trust in God and God knows what is good for us, His loving children.