Bulletin: October 16, 2022
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
We all get weary sometimes. So often we face frustration, discouragement, and temptation to despair over what we can’t change in our lives, or in the world. Today’s readings give us resources to persist in sustaining hope and trusting in God. The reading from Exodus shows us that when our arms get weary, we are not alone, that God provides us companions to sustain us. The letter to Timothy reminds us that we are rooted in scripture, the story of God’s past actions and promises for the future. The Gospel passage from Luke gives us the image of a persistent widow, who has a passion in her heart to sustain her relentless efforts to secure justice. This passion, this faith and hope, are God’s gifts. But they require ongoing practices of prayer to stay alive and growing. Let us encourage each other in prayer when our arms get weary.
Today’s Gospel is set within Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to prepare for a future after his ascension, and before Christ’s final return. The early Church lived in an unjust and violent world, and likely wondered when Christ would return to complete his work. In this context, we hear a parable of a corrupt judge and a widow seeking justice. The widow has no worldly resources to affect the judge, but only her own persistence. And that was enough.
We today also live in an unjust world, and we the Church long for Christ to fulfill God’s promises. But we are not asked to wait passively; instead we must join God’s work in bringing justice. We can imitate the widow with our persistence in prayer and action to be instruments of peace in our own place and time. These efforts might well extend beyond our own lifespans, but God will inspire new instruments of peace in future generations. God’s persistence will be enough.
A DEEP BREATH
In today’s passage from 2 Timothy, we hear that “all scripture is inspired.” The Greek word translated as “inspired” literally means “God-breathed.” That is, God breathes God’s own life in and through scripture. We can see ourselves also as “God-breathed,” as God’s creation was the result of God’s speech in Genesis, and as the Church received the Spirit from Jesus’ breath (John 20:22). God breathes in and through these writings, and in our encounters with each other, to enliven and to transform us.
Using this word, Paul invites Timothy to engage with scripture, to allow it to teach, correct, and train. Scripture is not a set of rules or an answer book, but a breath of God’s fresh air. It is the record of flawed human beings encountering a loving yet mysterious God. It is the story of God and humanity where we can place our life stories in dialogue with God’s story. Take a deep breath.