In the reading from the Book of Exodus 17;8-13, we see Moses standing with arms upraised at the gates of the promised land. He and his people are involved in a fierce battle to win this land which the Lord promised them.
He stands on a high hill overlooking the battlefield with the “staff of God” in his hand. The very staff that parted the Red Sea and allowed his people to escape from the Pharaoh of Egypt has protected them during the forty years they have wandered in the desert.
It is noticed that when Moses’ arms are upraised the Israelites are winning but when he tires and they begin to drop, Israel starts to lose. His brother, Aaron helps keep his arms upraised. Moses is fighting a spiritual battle as he prays to God for help from dawn to dusk, his persistence in constant prayer is rewarded when God grants Israel victory.
Again in the reading of St. Pauls’ letter to his protege, Timothy, when we see Pauls’ fervent prayer that Timothy have the persistent faith to persevere in the spreading of the Gospel. Paul is in prison and will die shortly but his conviction that all scripture is inspired and he who has command of it may be competent, equipped, for every good work is obvious. He charges Timothy to proclaim the word; to be persistent whether it’s convenient or inconvenient to convince, reprimand, encourage with patience and teaching.
Finally in the Gospel reading of Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells the parable of the dishonest Judge, who neither feared God nor respected any human being, and the persistent widow who would not leave him alone but constantly asked him to render a just decision against her adversary. Her persistence finally drove him to make a decision in her favor.
So Jesus points out that if this uncaring, unjust Judge favorably because of the persistence of this widow how much more so will all the merciful God respond to our humble persistent requests. Will he be slow to answer them? No! But his last question is as challenging today as it was 2,000 years ago. Where will the risen Christ find faith on earth? Will he find it in you? Do you live a faith filled life that is as “persistent” in its reliance on god as Moses, St. Paul and the widow? Which one speaks to your heart? Why?