Homily — 29th Sunday OT C Oct. 21, 2007

Homily — 29th Sunday OT C         Oct. 21, 2007

In the First Reading, God’s people are being attacked by their enemies.

So Moses asks Joshua to go down and fight against them, while he and Aaron and Hur go up a mountain to pray for victory.

And so long as Moses’ hands are held up to God in prayer, Joshua gets the better of the fight.  But when Moses got tired of praying, the enemies of Israel began to win.

What we have in this Old Testament passage is a beautiful image of the power of prayer, and of the necessity for us to pray always without becoming weary as Jesus teaches us in the Gospel.

In this fallen world we live in, God’s people are always under attack from the three fold enemy of the world, the flesh and the devil.

And just as in the Old Testament it was a man named Joshua leading God’s people in battle, so in the New Testament it is a man named Jeshua, Hebrew for Jesus, who fights and wins the victory for us.

And Jesus will, today in our world, in our families and communities, defeat evil and injustice and sin and despair if and only if His people are praying constantly without becoming weary as He tells us in the Gospel.

Prayer is so very very important, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like many people realize this.

One of the early Church Fathers, Tertullian, has this to say about the importance of prayer:

(Prayer) gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed.

The prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God (and) pleads for persecutors.

Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that (prayer) should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.

Its only art is . . . .to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains.

Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, humbles the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.

What more need be said on this duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Think for a moment about how much time and effort one must spend to keep one’s body in good health.

We need to brush and floss our teeth every day.
Stay away from junk food
Get exercise
Eat a balanced diet
Get enough sleep
Practice good hygiene like washing our hands before eating

We need to get periodic physicals and cancer screenings

If we don’t take the time to do these things on a daily  or other periodic basis, our physical health will deteriorate.

Well, it is the same way with our spiritual health.

To keep our souls in good shape,

we need to take 5 or 10 minutes of personal prayer each day,

we need to take time for good spiritual reading each week,

We need to examine our consciences every night or at least once a week.

We need to get to Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days.

We need to foster devotion to the Virgin Mary.

And we need to get to confession at least once a year.

If we keep our souls in as good physical shape as we try to keep our bodies, we’ll see Jesus and His army of love get the better of the battle in the world we live in.

May this Eucharist we celebrate inspire us to pray more frequently and fervently, so that when Jesus the Son of Man returns, He will find fervent faith in our hearts.

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