Oct. 20, 2019 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Ex 17:8-13; 2 Tm 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8)
When Amalek, a descendant of Esau and his Canaanite wife, attacks Israel in the first reading, he symbolizes more than just a military threat. He symbolizes all that was corrupting Israel, especially in the worship of idols and the rejection of the Lord. The scene where Moses needs to keep his hands raised, holding the staff of God so that Israel will win the battle, shows us that we are not able to drive out corruption of our faith by our own power, but only with divine help. Thus we need to pray for that help constantly. This need for prayer is reinforced in the Gospel where Jesus tells a parable of a dishonest judge who is pestered by a widow who is constantly asking for a just decision in her case. If even a dishonest judge can be swayed by constant petitions, how much more will God, who loves us and is goodness itself, listen to our petitions? The need for constant prayer is not so much a means to get what we want as it is a demonstration to God of our faith. This point is made in the last line of today's Gospel: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
In the second reading Paul tells Timothy that scripture is inspired by God. This was not well understood at the time, thus Paul needs to spell it out explicitly. We now understand that God (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) is the ultimate author of the scriptures, and the nominal human authors are collaborators with God in that effort.