A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”C”-10/20/13- SMG
Pax et Bonum!
On June 1st, 1967, the Beatles released their eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was both critically-acclaimed and a commercial hit. It changed music. Selling more than any other Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s appears on just about everybody’s list of most influential musical works. While I was a little young in 1967 to be listening to a lot of popular music, I can remember my older cousins loving that album and playing it over and over again. The album opened with the Title Track, ending with the introduction of the lead singer of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Billy Shears, which transitioned seamlessly into one of my favorite song from the album, “With a Little Help From My Friends”. And while I am still not so sure about the “I get high with a little help from friends” part, I have always liked the fact that Paul McCartney reminded us how important our friend are. Sometimes, all of us need some help and support, in a variety of different ways.
One way that we need the support of friends, that perhaps we don’t think a lot about, is in our prayer lives. Sometimes to keep praying and to keep developing our own prayer lives, the best thing that we can do is pray with others. Now, we know that prayer is a very personal thing. There are many people who don’t want and don’t like to pray with others. And yet praying with others, most especially praying with our friends and loved ones, can be one of the most rewarding kinds of prayer. As Church, we have always struggled to pray better together. The Church calls our prayer together “liturgy”. And liturgy is not easy. But liturgy is important. Remember when Jesus said when two or three are gathered together in prayer, there will I be in the midst of them? That’s in Matthew 18:20. God likes it when we get together.
We’re given a beautiful example of helping one another to pray in our first reading from the Book of Exodus. The Israelites are at war. And it is a tough war. But as long as Moses keeps praying with his hands raised up, the Israelites are winning. And when he gets tired and puts his arms down, the Israelites gets slaughtered. So, to keep winning the battle, Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ arms so that he can keep praying, and the Israelites win the war. How many times do we need our friends, our loved one, to hold us up in prayer, so that we too can persevere? Sometimes we can’t do it alone. We need one another’s help.
In our second reading, from St. Paul to Timothy, Paul is reminding Timothy and his community to remain faithful to what they have learned and believed. Paul tells them to persevere and not give up. Paul says to stay true to the teachings of Christ, whether it convenient or inconvenient. And how’s Timothy supposed to do that? He’s supposed to do that with the love, the help, and strength of his community. Timothy was not alone. The strength of the community was extremely important.
And then we come to our Gospel from St. Luke, and once again we are being asked to persevere in praying. You get the message, don’t you. Our God knows that it is NOT always easy to keep praying. And yet, with the help and support of our friends and our community, we are still being asked to do what is NOT easy. We are to keep praying. Prayer makes a difference, both when we can see that difference, and even when we can’t see the difference. It was very important Jesus that we NOT quit praying. And one of the best ways of assuring that we don’t, is for us to pray with our friends.
To find a friend to pray with is an amazing thing. Praying together as friends can give great strength and comfort to everyone involved. We need to be less afraid of asking our friends to pray with us. As Catholics, we have so many awesome ways of praying with others. You can pray the Liturgy of the Hours. You can pray the Rosary. You can pray the Psalms. You can read the Bible. You can pray a litany or a novena. We have lots of different ways. All we have to do is have the courage to invite our friends to pray with us.
The Beatles were right. We do get by with a little help from our friends, even when it comes to prayer! Let us pray more together. Let us support one another in our prayer lives!
May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!