Today’s readings invite us into prayer, into relationship with God. Because relationships feel more natural when we know one another well, Sirach encourages us to know God better. In his wisdom, Sirach tells us what God is like: fair, open-minded, compassionate, and attentive. “The Lord will not delay,” he says. Knowing that God’s help comes right on time, whenever we need it, calms our hearts and helps us trust the Lord. In his second Letter to Timothy, Saint Paul demonstrates his own trust in God. Despite the grueling struggles Saint Paul has faced because of his Christian faith, he praises the Lord for rescuing him time and again. Today’s Gospel draws us close to Jesus too, revealing his special love for the poor and humble. As Jesus tells his parable about the prayer habits of a Pharisee and a tax collector, our hearts long to become as gentle as Christ’s.
Today’s readings are about persistence, passionate persistence. Exodus tells of a battle won despite weariness because Moses, with help from Aaron and Hur, held his hands raised. Timothy asks that same persistence of his community and us. Luke tells of a court case won by a widow, despite the dishonesty of the judge, because she will not leave him alone. The psalm reminds us that God is everywhere, guarding us from harm day and night, coming and going, now and forever. The readings are about persistence, the relentless, unwavering pursuit of what must not be lost. The readings are about God’s passionate persistence in pursuing us, seeking to win our hearts.
The readings today speak of healing and salvation. In Second Kings, Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Syria, develops leprosy. He goes to a stranger, a prophet from Israel, when no one else can cure his disease. Much to his surprise, after a simple bath in the river, he is cured. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus cures ten lepers and sends them to the priest. Only one, a Samaritan, returns to thank Jesus for his cure and only he hears the words, “Your faith has saved you.” The psalm and Timothy remind us that salvation involves justice, kindness, and faithfulness and forever links us with Jesus. In a world as broken as ours, both healing and salvation are necessary.
Today our readings are about faith, frustration, and how much is enough. Habakkuk is a complainer having an argument with God. Timothy is encouraging a community challenged by cowardice and the apostles want more faith than they have. Things aren’t happening fast enough for any of them or for us. All of them and we want God to do something sooner rather than later and we want God to give us a reason to believe that it will all work out. What does God do? God puts it back on them—and us—telling Habakkuk to describe the world he wants; telling the apostles to do more than the expected. Doing more with less is a familiar phrase today and a reminder that a little faith may be enough even for the most difficult times.