In today’s Gospel parable Jesus invites us to be persistent in prayer. If persistence can move an unjust judge to grant a petitioner’s legitimate request, all the more can we depend upon a just and loving God to grant us what we truly need. The difference is that God knows what we truly need more than we do: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) If there is a conformity that comes about through the dialogue of prayer, it is not God who is brought into conformity with us, but we who are brought into conformity with God.
Our First Reading today offers us the example of the community leader—Moses—interceding on behalf of his community and succeeding with the support of his helpers. Although this is a battle story, it is an image that can be an allegory of the Church. We community leaders—the pope, the bishops, priests and deacons—have among our principal responsibilities to pray for the people of God. We do this by offering daily the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. We priests and bishops also do this by offering the sacrifice of the Mass on behalf of all the living and the dead, and specifically for those entrusted to our care on Sundays and holy days of obligation. At the same time we rely on the prayers of the faithful entrusted to our care. During the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, after we priests have renewed our commitment to priestly service, the bishop addresses the people with these words:
As for you, dearest sons and daughters, pray for your Priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.
There is an expression that is often used as a farewell in Latin: Oremus pro invicem. (Let us pray for each other.) Prayer for one another is an act of faith that our help truly is from the Lord, as our Responsorial Psalm refrain proclaims. What better way to observe October as the month of the rosary than by praying it for someone whom we know to be particularly in need of God’s help.
Last weekend we welcomed Monsignor Joseph Hirsch to make an appeal for the support of Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, our diocesan orphanage near Lima, Peru. This is a ministry founded by the late Father Joseph Walijewski, a great missionary priest of our diocese. Father Walijewski’s vision was to take orphaned children off the streets, bring them into a family setting, give them an education, teach them a trade, form them in the faith, and help them to become productive adults. A second collection is being taken up this weekend for this cause and you may use the envelopes you received for this purpose last weekend, or there are extras in the church entryways. Make checks payable to your parish.
This weekend at the 9:00 Mass at St. Peter and the 10:30 Mass at St. Charles, This year’s confirmandi will publicly declare their intention to participate in the Mass each Sunday and holy day of obligation, and we will pledge our prayers for them as they prepare for Confirmation in May.
October is the month of the rosary and the month of the missions. Pray the rosary this week for the children living at Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II and for the staff there. Pray for the young people of our parishes who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.