Persistence is certainly a virtue, but to get there, we have to be on guard against weariness. It’s so easy to become weary—weary in our prayer, in our work, in our daily lives, in the sad and sometimes scary stories that come to us in the news. Today, God gives us three stories about protecting ourselves from becoming weary.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight.
2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed.
“I tell you, [God] will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
War is wearisome. It takes a toll on the soldiers, the people of the nations at war, the resources of those nations, and the earth which is scarred by the violence waged. When Amalek’s army attacked Israel, God assured Israel that they would win the battle if Moses kept his arms raised. That’s an unusual request. Moses was a mediator between God and God’s people—this was a way of expressing that God communicated and worked directly through Moses. It’s really, really hard to keep your arms up for a long time. Moses got tired, but he didn’t have to do it alone. He was given a seat and people helped to hold his arms up. We are not expected to do hard things all by ourselves—accepting help keeps us from becoming weary, and brings help to others.
Being consistent in our values and actions can sometimes be wearisome. Honestly, it’s sometimes easier to do the wrong thing, or to not do the right thing. But, when we know what’s right, we are responsible to do what’s right. We learn right from wrong in the Bible and in our Church teachings. And, if it wasn’t enough to do what’s right, Paul tells us that we must, “be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” We have to do it with patience! We lose our patience when we become weary. So, we can only accomplish this goal if we don’t become so.
Jesus told the disciples that they have to learn to pray without becoming weary. He only said that because he knows that people can become weary when they pray and pray and don’t feel like they are seeing results. So, he tells one of the funniest stories ever. An old widow wants justice, so she harasses a corrupt judge until he becomes afraid that she’ll hit him. Don’t make a grandma mad—they’ve seen too much to let nonsense go. So, he gives her what is owed to her (she was only asking for what belonged to her). Jesus reminds us that God never withholds what belongs to us, or what is good for us. God will always make sure that we have justice. Sometimes it takes a little while, because sometimes we’re dealing with corrupt “judges” (which could be anyone; not just a court judge), and God doesn’t interfere with out free will. If we are persistent in prayer, we will get the answer we need.
Break Open the Word with Your Family
Have you ever tried to keep your arms up for a long time? Get someone to time you and see how long you can keep them up. Then, see how long you can do it with someone helping you.
Did you ever think about what makes people impatient? Ultimately, it stems from their feeling weary. What can you do when you feel yourself becoming impatient? How can you help others when you notice that they are becoming impatient?
Do you ever feel weary? If so, what makes you feel that way? When you begin to feel weary, what actions can you take to head it off?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”