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Twenty-ninth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

17 October 2010

Reflecting on Exodus 17: 8-13

Last Sunday I was giving a talk about biblical history.   I had a big, heavy burlap chart that needed two people to hold it.  About ten minutes into this lesson Fred, dropping his arms (and thus the chart) said, “Will Aaron be coming soon?”  And the class, very biblically literate, erupted in laughter, recalling this story today from Exodus about Moses’ arms being held up by Aaron in the heat of the battle.

Victory, Oh Lord Painting by John Everett Millias 1829-1896

I looked at the couple I had recruited for the chart-holding task.  Their arms were aching, but they had dutifully stretched that chart across the room until they just couldn’t hold it anymore.  They, and hundreds of others, have been holding up the good works of the Church all their lives.

Afterwards, the doors of the hall burst open and a group of beautiful young adults came rushing in, hastily setting up the cots for a number of homeless families who will be staying at the parish this week.  They are part of a whole army of parishioners who will hold up the arms of these struggling families, providing friendship, food and shelter for them as the adults go to their jobs or look for work this week.

My cousin Maureen has a long list of people for whom she prays, every single day.  The years come and go, but she is always there, like the widow in Luke’s story today, holding up in prayer those who are sick, or jobless, or divorcing, or grieving.

Will Aaron be coming soon?  As I look at the faithful work of the Church around the world I can confidently say that he is already here.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

How are you helping to hold up the arms of the weary?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Ordinary Time - Cycle C

11 Comments to “Twenty-ninth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C”

  1. Ah, perseverance . . . tenacity . . . persistence . . . singleness of purpose . . .

    How well do I keep my eyes on the finish line?

    Which of my distractions fit into the requirements of the race? Righting a wrong? Speaking against an evil? Encouraging a parent?

    The human mind is capable of justifying almost any action. I try to guard against rationalizing my actions in light of the race, but I know that I fail often. Then, the graces of perseverance, tenacity, persistence and singleness of purpose give me the opportunity to turn back and focus on the finish line.

    My biggest difficulty is what Jesus tells his disciples, to pray always without becoming weary. I need to remember to pray not for what I want but for the will of God. It is not my worst fault, but it is right up there . . . wanting my will rather than God’s.

  2. I am waery therefore I am lifted up more than I lift.
    I use to love charity work, I thrived on it. and I miss doing the things that I use to do, the things that made me feel alive and needed. But it seems that since I’ve retired and gone disability that I just don’t have the drive that I once had. I try to help my two little great-nieces. and their mom but even that wears on me sometimes. I think that I have told been too many time that I am an enabler. And now I worry that I may be loving those I love to the gates of hell or something. I miss the days when a good deed was just that “a good deed”. I do thank God for all the support and care I receive from friend and family. I am so truly Blessed. last sping I move into an appartment the first time in many year that I have been on my own and alone. And my need to move for the second time with in a year came about so sudden, but the Lord provided me with a good friend and her family and my uncle and hie family, and the move went though smoothly! I have had to learn that excepting help from those who want so to do good things for me is a charitable act as well. It’s not easy and down right embarrasing at times, I think they call that pride. But when I remember the inner peace I received when it was me giving help, and how worry that I felt when I wasn’t able too, I can’t say no thanks to their beaming smiles of love and care. I am waery and I am Blessed. Becky

  3. Becky — I was glad to read that you realize that allowing others to help you is a charitable act. I had a priest friend years ago who told me that when he asked me to do something for him, it was a gift to me. I thought about that a lot before realizing that he was correct. He gave me the gift of being able to do something for someone else.

    You and I have reached the time when we cannot do what we did before. So, we can now give the gift to others to allow them to do what we used to do. That is a great gift, isn’t it?

  4. Thank You Brebis, I was just glad that someone understooded what I was trying to say what with all my typos. There are many cycles in life. No one is on top forever, but it is hard to let go of the reins to a way of life like being a care taker, isnt it. It’s the cross we bear while on earth in these bodies. It’s with the grace we answer the calls from God that determine who we have become at each stage of life, that makes us saints and sinners.

  5. I confess that these past three years have been a lesson in humility. I have been humbled again and again, as the eldest child who grew up with the expectation of being able to do all things, for all people. And, certainly able to take of myself!! There have been times when there was no alternative to accepting help, when I was simply unable to do some things. But, ASKING has been another lesson entirely – it was more likely that I would just do things (like driving, when it wasn’t the safest thing to do) than ask for help. Maybe it was just plain pride, but also there was a component of fear, not wanting to feel let down when those asked were not able or available to assist. What I was able to ask for was prayers, which obviously was the most important, as I am now living a miracle of improvement. But, even that request wasn’t extended to every arena – you will notice that my name has been conspicuously missing from the parish prayer list. But, in the familiar arena of the Sisters of Charity it was easier to ask that they storm heaven for my intentions. And, I certainly did not always receive God’s will with grace. My journey to sainthood has been a bumpy one, and I continue to ask God for the strength, wisdom and acceptance to take the next step. One of my mom’s isms was “Pride goeth before a fall.” She didn’t ever say how far we had to fall.

  6. Makes me stop and ask myself this question today: who has been holding up their arms for me while the powers of good and evil duel for my life? Whoever you are, thanks be to God for you and praise to the One who pays attention to little things like me…

  7. For 27 years I have been a divorced mother of five beautiful children. In the first few years of that time, I wondered how I would survive, how my children would be able to thrive without the benefit of their father, living at home and working. For many years, he earned a very good income. It allowed us the Catholic school education in grade school and high school. It was difficult after the divorce. I found a full-time job, continued with their education as it was, as the years went by, they each were emancipated, the child support was gone. We still needed to live, eat, travel back and forth to school and work. I struggled financially, eventually losing our big and spacious home. I remember the day I walked out of that home for the last time, dearest Kathy told me to walk around, take a last look and remember all the wonderful times spent there, the great parties inside and outside in the yard, and to leave all the bad memories there, close the door and look to my new home and build memories again. I thought then that I would surely give out, I realized that all along, not only was I being held up by both of my arms, but, that God was truly carrying me. He kept me on the right path, my children flourished as I did also. I loved my job working for the library. A job I kept for 26+ years and retired from last November. I now have 6 beautiful grandchildren, my daughters are all wonderful mothers and my son is a kind, loving, generous uncle to his nieces and nephews. I am very proud to be their mother. I was asked many times, who did you lean on in those lean times, my answer was always, on God… He has never let me down…

  8. Hi Kathy,
    I am not sure if I am logged-in or not. I am not receiving your weekly comments. I did receive them at first, but not lately. I love this site and I love reading everyones stories.

  9. Vivian’s story leaves me pondering… how faithful God is even outside that sacrament of marriage! He never abandons his little ones. This is one of the reasons why I try to correct people explicitly when they refer to divorced people as coming from a “broken family.” Some people who are married are more “broken” than divorcees. – – Cris

  10. Thank you, Cris, for the difference: Broken families aren’t necessarily the ones of divorce. Many things break families. And in review of the comments about helping others. You may never be able to pay back what someone does for you but you can always pay it forward! Allowing someone to be generous gives the giver grace also!

  11. My dear mother, Julieta 102, just passed away, surrounded my family and so much love! My husband and I cared for her in her elder years. You could say we were her ‘Aaron’ in so many different ways…truely, a blessing for us, to see the physical/mental decline of a person, to the very last breath. The paschal mystery…her dying, her death, with full expectation of her resurrection. Certainly those who have been close to us never die, as we carry them with us where ever we go, to the greater honor and glory of God.
    I am helping one of my daughers at this time in my life.I travelled out of state to be part of her little family as she awaits to deliver her third child. As a mother of five, I so appreciate all young mother’s sacrifices, having, and raising their children. The new generation. The future members of the Body of Christ. Amen.

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