Today’s first and third liturgical reading go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a no-brainer, but don’t let that make you think that their message is easy to live out.
Both Moses in the first reading and the woman who came to the judge over and over again about her claim are persistent.
In modern terms, persistence means:
Hang in there!
Don’t let up seeking justice.
If you believe you know truth and right, live by that belief.
Let’s take a look at the key figures we meet today.
Consider Moses. Forget the fact that he is presiding over a battle and just concentrate on the man for a moment – this leader of a ragtag band of Hebrews making their way to the promised land. As their leader, Moses' part in the day’s events was to keep his arms raised in prayer over the battlefield. He couldn’t do it. We couldn’t do it.
Go into the kitchen and set the timer on the stove for five minutes. Extend your arms for that whole time. Is that hard to do? No! It’s impossible ! Moses, the leader, needed help. The future of Israel depended on it. Once Aaron and Hur figured out what they had to do, the leader got the help he needed.. Aaron and Hur stood on either side of Moses to hold his arms raised. Only then could victory be achieved.
And then there is the widow in the Gospel .She didn’t have an advocate, no power to bribe, cajole or force, but she didn’t fear the judge who kept denying her justice. She simply wore him down by her persistence. She was undaunted in her tenacity. She wanted what she needed enough to stay the course. She believed in her cause. The judge, on the other hand, depended on his authority. It was not enough. Justice has a way of making us determined in a way that enfeebles authority which is not based on justice.
What’s in these readings for us?
Perseverance needs to be relentless, but often needs assistance. Do you need help to persevere? Are you aware of others who need help in order to persevere?
No leader can lead alone. If we are the leader, reach out to the community for help. If we are in the community, work with the leader to achieve the desired goal.
As Paul counsels Timothy in the second reading ,be constant in season and out of season, when convenient or inconvenient. Only this constancy will achieve the desired goal.
-Sister Joan Sobala