29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 20, 2013)

Praying in Moreau Seminary Chapel

This week’s Readings

When I write these notes and prepare my homilies, sometimes the ideas come immediately and the fingers fly on the keyboard. At other times my brain is mush! These are the times when I seek out Biblical commentaries, and they usually present me with a good idea. Sometimes they teach me something I never knew before.

Such is the case with the Sunday’s Gospel about the persistent widow. Jesus tells his disciples to “pray always without becoming weary.” Other Biblical translations will talk about praying “without losing heart” or pray “and not giving up.” Those are the three most common phrases I found. And here’s what I didn’t know before … all three phrases are an attempt to translate the Greek word enkenkao, which literally means “to be filled with bad thoughts.”

Now, how often are you and I like the widow? She didn’t sit at home wringing her hands about her problem or thinking of a way to get even. No … she got up and continually went to the only person who could help her – the judge. Do we act that way when we’re faced with difficulties? Or are the “bad thoughts” that fill our minds thoughts of revenge or vindictiveness?

Wouldn’t it be more true to say that our time of praying over difficulties all too often turns into a time of worry and anxiety? Our minds fill with bad thoughts of the worst that could happen. Instead of finding the peace and strength that comes from a prayerful awareness of God’s presence with us, we end up wallowing in the negative, the unpleasant, the possible disasters. Someone once said that worry is like a rocking chair … it gives you something to do but you never go anywhere with it.

Pray pray and pray again. Ask for help, as Moses did in the First Reading. Remember God’s help in the past, as Paul counsels Timothy in the Second Reading. And remember, most of the time, the things we worry about are not real: They exist only in our anxious minds.

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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