LITURGY

Twenty-ninth Sunday Year C

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WORD OF GOD
As long as Moses kept his arms raised,
Israel had the advantage.
When he let his arms fall,
the advantage went to Amalek.
(Exodus 17: 11)

WORD FOR TODAY
Jesus points to the relationship between faith and prayer. We can’t claim to have faith if we don’t pray. And when we seem to pray and nothing happens, it is then that the need to persevere in prayer is even greater. For prayer feeds faith.

WORDS FOR WORSHIP
Let us pray for parents that they may lead their children to know a loving God and may teach them the joys of a lifetime of prayer to the One who holds all things in the palm of his hand.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.
Let us pray for ourselves that we may never become dejected if we pray for something that does not come about, but may persevere in that conversation with God which feeds our faith.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.
Let us pray for those who are seeking meaning in their lives and a way of making sense of the ups and downs that characterise their days, that they may find the comfort of faith in God.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.
Let us pray for those men and women who have dedicated themselves to an enclosed religious life and who spend their days praying for the needs of the Church and the outside world.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

FAITH IN FOCUS: DON’T GIVE UP
The widow in today’s gospel was worried. She had a legal grievance and she needed a “man” to unlock the doors of Jewish society. Because she had no clout the judge kept putting her off until eventually he heard her case just for a quiet life.
Jesus uses this story to teach us that we should never stop praying. Prayer increases our faith and feeds our life with God. The great Christians of the past constantly tell us that we should keep going in our prayer, no matter how worried we are and no matter how long it seems to take.
Worry is a destructive thing. It only allies us to thoughts of disaster and unpleasantness. It causes us to fall into the rut of negative thinking and this starts to erode our mindset and curtail our happiness. Yet it is possible to channel worry into prayer. If, instead of sitting and thinking the worst, we make our worries into petitions to God and begin to praise and thank God for what we do have, we can get a sense of the wholeness of God’s presence and come to an understanding of that peace of God that cannot be taken away from us.
Even the greatest men and women get knocked down in life, but what separates them from the rest is that they get right back up. Perseverance in prayer is a virtue. That’s because it’s the actual praying that gives us the strength to go on. Giving up praying when in trouble is like giving up eating when you are ill. You are only going to get worse.
But we have to pray positively. If we feel that God won’t answer, then he probably won’t. We need to pray with confidence, firmly believing that God wants us to have what we need and what is good for us. Jesus would not have told us that our prayers will be answered if it were not true.
And how do we know that our prayer has “worked”? Only God can grasp the full picture of what is good for us. Sometimes our prayer can be answered speedily. At other times God has reasons for delaying. Sometimes God may improve on our prayer by granting us something even better than what we asked for. And do remember that even when the answer is “No”, it’s still an answer to prayer. So don’t give up.

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