Sunday Reflection on the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Christians need to be fighters. A fighter is someone who despite hardships, difficulties and sometimes obstacles; someone who may suffer along the way – does not give up and stays the course – fights the fight. Fighting is not always a bad word! A bully is not a fighter, described in this way. A risk-taker is not a fighter described in this way. Christians need to be fighters and this is a value and character trait which is becoming more obsolete and unfortunately less a descriptive of the Christian – but as Christians, we need to ask for the grace; the courage and strength to restore the “fight” in us. If we think of the early Christians, they were fighters though they may have been prisoners and may have ended up dying horrible and brutal deaths at the hand of oppressors and tyrants. A characteristic which contributed to their greatness as Disciples was perseverance; perseverance is a characteristic important and admired in Christian Disciples. And why persevere? As Christians, we are people of hope: that no matter what seems to be taking place around us, God is with us, will deliver us and has the Final Word!
Perseverance is also a common thread and part of the account of each one of our readings, this 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Moses and the people persevere; Moses interceding, the people depending on God. St. Paul calls upon Timothy to persevere in his ministry and Jesus reiterates the importance of perseverance in the parable of the unjust judge; who grants what is asked because he is moved by the persistence of the one who asks.
We too, as the Christian Disciples of today are called to persevere. We are called to know our faith; to take an proactive role in learning and growing in what it means to be a Catholic Christian and to live by these principles. We are called to understand why living by these principles are important, why they matter and this often grows stronger in things we struggle with and how we suffer, in what we endure and how we handle difficulties. We even and often can learn a great deal from our personal failures and sometimes our colossal failures at being good Disciples. From our sins, from our weaknesses, from where we fall short – if we begin to see why these things happen, we do what Christians do: pick ourselves up and continue to soldier on. We fight. We fight the good fight, as St. Paul says. And let us consider St. Paul’s words, perhaps words remembered as prayer from 1 Timothy chapter 6: “But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.”