19 Pentecost, Year C: A Life’s Work

SUNDAY’S READINGS | October 16, 2022

Jer. 31:27-34 or Gen. 32:22-31
Ps. 119:97-104 or Ps. 121 2
Tim. 3:14-4:5
• Luke 18:1-8

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Ps. 115:1).

We have lost our original likeness to God, and in that loss have wandered far from home, to a land of depravity and evil, pride and dissension. For that reason, we find that “we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves” (Collect, Lent 3). Our help, our only help, is from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth (Ps. 121:2).

There is, however, a proper sense in which we may and should assert the dignity of the human person, even in sin. God has created us, redeemed us, and sustains us in love moment by moment. God is the author of human worth and dignity, and so, even after we had fallen into sin, God, in love, rescued what he had made. In the words of Eucharistic Prayer A, “Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.” Precisely here we find the infinite worth and value of every human life.

Although our salvation is utterly from God, we are called to “work out our salvation.” God, working in us and through us, sets us to the plow. There is work to be done. In this work, God keeps watch, does not slumber, preserves us from evil, and keeps us safe. God is our shade against the heat of the day and our solace in the night hours (Ps. 121:4-8). “The Lord shall watch over your going out and coming in, from this time forth for evermore” (Ps. 121:8).

What, then, are we to do? Of the many works to which we are called, these are vitally important: striving with God and humans, the study of sacred Scripture, teaching, and prayer. These are the work of a lifetime, requiring constancy and determination. We will not have faith for long unless we learn, like Jacob, to strive with God and humans. Faith is a struggle waged day after day; faith is endurance and perseverance.

The study of Scripture equips us for good works. This also is the work of a lifetime. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Teach the faith. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is judge of the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; … As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully” (2 Tim. 4:1-2, 5). How the faith is taught will differ according to circumstances and one’s station in life, but everyone may bear the message of good news.

Pray without ceasing. “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them” (Luke 18:7-8a).

Look It Up: 2 Timothy 3:14

Think About It: Continue in what you have learned. Endure to the end.


Online Archives