(30th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)
In chapter 6 of his gospel, Luke gives his version of the beatitudes, where Jesus singles out as blessed those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and persecuted.
Today’s first reading assures us, “The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.” The author then appears to contradict himself, emphasizing that God always hears the cry of the oppressed, of orphans and widows, and of the lowly. Among them, however, he includes “the one who serves God willingly.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary, who called herself God’s lowly servant, is the shining example of willingness in his service. At La Salette she encourages us to follow her example. The word she uses is: submit.
We confidently pray to her and to other saints. Their virtuous lives in the Lord’s service allow their voices to be heard on our behalf, standing by our side when, like the tax collector in the gospel, we hesitate to raise our eyes to heaven, and say, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
What we ask of the Lord for ourselves, we should be ready to give to others. A few weeks ago, a reading at daily Mass, from Proverbs, ended with the words, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard.”
In the second reading St. Paul writes from prison, “At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” Jesus had that experience before him, and many others since. In our increasingly secular world, we may well find ourselves standing alone. We will need to fight the good fight, finish the race and, above all, keep the faith.
When we see someone going through the trials of life alone, we should be brave and appear on their behalf. May our words and actions always reflect the words of today’s Psalm: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.” Let us never desert each other.
Let us approach the Lord with that attitude of mind and heart which will make him most disposed to hear us, not exalting ourselves like the Pharisee, but humbling ourselves before him.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.