Oct. 19, 2019

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, 2019

WHEN GOD’S CHILDREN UNITE

Readings: 1st- Ex. 17:8-13; 2nd- 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2; Gospel- Lk.18:1-8

The case of Amalek and that of the judge in the gospel who neither fears God nor respects any human being seem to parallel each other in today’s readings. The judge is not willing to respond to the widow who begs for justice. He is not ready to pay attention to the woman’s plea, “Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” But the judge’s unwillingness is met with persistence. The widow makes sure she bothers the judge until judgment is delivered to her. Christ informs us from that parable that God will secure the rights of those who call upon him day and night.  

In the first reading, the story of Amalek leaves us with important themes for our reflection. Amalek wages war against the Israelites who encounter this nomadic, marauding tribe after they left Egypt for the Promised Land. In the book of Deuteronomy, Amalek is described as “who did not fear God” (Deut. 25:18). The battle in the first reading was in fulfilment of the words of the Lord spoken to Moses about Amalek thus, “When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” (Deut. 25:19). God commanded the Israelites to engage in battle with Amalek. God wanted Amalek to be wiped off probably because they did not fear him. The Israelites fought the battle recognizing the presence of God, a power seen by the presence of Moses at the top of the mountain. They showed courage and resilience until they won the victory. 

The action of Moses throughout the time of battle against the Amalekites calls for special interest. Moses was up on the mountain with Aaron and Hur, with arms raised in invocation to God. Joshua was the foot soldier in the battle front. In Moses and Joshua, physical might combined with spiritual forces to achieve success. Moses’ spiritual strength provided sustenance for Joshua and those fighting as Scripture says, “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight.” The responsorial psalm maintains, “Our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121). Moses recognized God as the source of their victory and kept God’s staff in his hand in the same manner that he lifted the staff for the Israelites to pass the Red Sea. We must recognize the presence of God during our own tough times. We must constantly lift our hands up in prayer. 

The role played by Aaron and Hur is significant in this battle against Amalek. They were Moses’ lieutenants, stayed with him at the top of the mountain. They held his hands up for him when he grew tired. They stood side by side with him. They made Moses’ hands remain stable till sunset, and by that action, Joshua and his soldiers were able to mow down Amalek. This shows the importance of team work in every human endeavor. Even though Moses was the leader, he would have given up, had Aaron and Hur not supported him. 

Some of us are like Moses who provide leadership. Such persons coordinate, direct, initiate projects, and create plans for things to happen. In families, such persons keep everyone in line. They make sure that things are done properly and in time. They determine when bills are paid, when taxes are filed, which school the children attend. They plan family events such as thanksgiving and Christmas and assign positions to others. In the workplace, they are the CEO’s and bosses who call the shots. In the church, they head groups and committees. The Moses’s also worry that things go well and as planned. So, they devote their time praying for the achievement of their goals. Their role is important for efficient running of any society. 

Others are like Joshua, the foot soldier who provides physical labor and service. Such individuals do the fighting. They get venues for meetings and events ready. They are the hands-on persons who share flyers and posters. They make themselves available and sacrifice their lives for the community. They fight to protect the interest of their members. Those who have the personality of Moses and Joshua drive the goals of every community. But Moses and Joshua would not have succeeded without the support of Aaron and Hur. They held his hands for as long as they remained on the mountain. They provided what Moses needed at the critical time in battle. They served as Moses’ backup. 

The need to build support systems is a great one in our lives. Every individual has an attachment need fulfilled by others. The husband needs the wife and the wife needs the husband. The children need their parents and the parents need their children. Siblings need one another in the family. The boss at work needs the staff and the staff need the boss. The doctor needs the nurse while the nurse also needs the doctor. Teachers need student to teach while students need teachers to learn. The Church calls such the spirit of solidarity.

Most importantly, we need each other as spiritual partners in our battle against the forces of darkness. We need each other to fight the Amalek’s in our time, to fight those who have no fear of God. We need each other to function effectively. To win the battle against the devil, we need friends like Aaron and Hur to hold us up. We need the support of friends like Aaron and Hur at those trying moments in our lives. When we feel sick and weak. When we feel like giving up. When we feel stretched and exhausted. When we experience heartbreak. When we encounter loss. There is always the need for the community of believers to unite, the need for an Aaron and a Hur, the need for a great support system, the need for an attachment base to lean on.

 

Remember the song by Michael Bolton:

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load

If you just call me (call me)
If you need a friend (call me) call me uh huh(call me) if you need a friend (call me)
If you ever need a friend (call me)
Call me (call me) call me (call me) call me
(Call me) call me (call me) if you need a friend
(Call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me)