My brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I was saying, today is World Mission Sunday and I think it is very interesting that the readings of today’s Mass talk to us about the importance of prayer and the power of prayer. So, as I was saying before, we need to especially pray for the missionary work of the Church all over the world.
And as I was reflecting on these readings, I was thinking, what a privilege it is to be able to pray. To talk to God, who is our Father, to bring to him our worries and cares, our joys and our sorrows. And to know that he is really listening, that he is always close to us and with us, especially in our need as he hears our prayers.
And then in the passage of the Gospel, Jesus is talking to us about how we pray, giving us this parable of the widow and the judge.
As we just heard, the woman in this parable, comes to this judge seeking justice, she’s looking for this judge to make things right in her life.
But this judge does not care about that. So, Jesus tells us that the judge is dishonest, that he has no fear of God and does not respect people. So it’s clear that the women basically has no chance to heard in her needs.
But she continues to come to the judge, appealing to him, making her case. Then one day, the judge decides to take her case and rules in her favor.
So remember that Jesus says, in today’s passage of the Gospel, that this is a parable “about the necessity … to pray always without becoming weary.”
So what is this story telling us about prayer? First of all, that we need to pray, and then that we need to keep praying. Pray always. Even when things seem hopeless. Even when it seems like we have no chance.
So my dear brothers and sisters, it is clear to us that we should never fall into the trap of thinking that prayer is a waste of time. That is one of the temptations that we have, because we are all so busy with our work, our families, and so many others things.
We need to pray. Jesus tells us today that prayer is a “necessity.”
If we don’t pray, it is like we are cutting off our communication with God. Which is, as I said in the beginning, an extraordinary privilege just to think that God — the Creator of the Universe, All Powerful — is always listening to us.
And we know that pray is not about making big speeches to God. It is really a simple conversation with God.
So I think the first resolution that we have today, is to make sure that we talk to God all the time. And that we talk to in our own words, from our hearts.
God wants us to ask him for his help, he wants us to know that we depend on him for everything. So, he wants us to be praying all the time. For those specific needs that we have and also for the people in our lives.
And we see that beautiful example of praying for others in the first reading of today’s Mass from the Book of Exodus.
As we heard, Israel was in a battle and Moses was standing on the hill, his arms lifted up in prayer. And even when Moses grows tired, he keeps praying, supported by Aaron and Hur, who are holding up his arms.
So this scene reminds us of how Jesus was on the Cross, praying for us in our battles against sin and evil. But this scene also reminds us of our duty to help one another in prayer.
God hears our prayers!
When we are praying for someone, we are lifting up that person, sustaining that person and the people that we are praying for — just as Aaron and Hur are supporting Moses as he prays.
It was beautiful that this past Wednesday, we had a celebration here at the Cathedral for the Missionary Charitable Association. We had about 3,000 Catholic school students from our elementary and high schools. It was beautiful — the Cathedral was packed with students from our Catholic schools.
And we were reminded that the founder of the Association — the Missionary Charitable Association — asked the children to pray a daily Hail Mary for Missionary Children. He also asked them to contribute 1 penny in monthly dues which will be given in direct support to assist children in missionary countries. One daily Hail Mary.
So my dear brothers and sisters, really our missionary works starts with prayer. Each one of us depends on the prayers of others. We are all living on prayers. Sometimes we don’t even know who is praying for us.
I know that I depend on your prayers and the prayers of all the people of the Archdiocese. And you should know that you are in my prayers every day. This is the power, the beauty of our prayer and the Body of Christ in the Church. Pray for one another.
Our prayers matter, often in ways we can never see.
Today, let us especially ask for the grace to find the time to pray every day. As we heard in the second reading of today’s Mass from St. Paul: “be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”
So let us renew our commitment to be men and women of prayer. Being totally convinced that God is always listening to us and that he’s right there, ready to help us in whatever we need.
So let us ask this week for the grace to keep praying. Even when we are tired, as Moses was. Even when our prayer seems like it is not working, as it must have seemed for that widow in the Gospel.
And as it is this month of October — the month of the Rosary — let us try to make time to pray the Rosary, at least one Hail Mary every day, or one decade of the Rosary every day. That will make a huge difference in our lives, in the lives of the people that we love and in the life of the Church.
Let’s us ask Mary our Blessed Mother to give us all a new love for talking to God in prayer.
1. Readings: Exod. 17:8-13; Ps. 121:1-8; 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8.