Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Ex 17:8-13 / Ps 121 / 2 Tm 3:14-4:2 / Lk 18:1-8
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Many years ago, a young Catholic lady got married to a man who not only was a pagan, but also had a very bad temper. But she bore all her sufferings with patience and with fervent prayer. To make her long story short, a year before her husband died, he accepted the Christian faith and was baptized on his deathbed.
As an added blessing from her many years of prayer, her mother-in-law also became a Christian. But her joy over her husband’s conversion was changed into sorrow when she found out that her son was living a sinful life. She prayed and wept and did much penance for her son and even begged priests to talk to him, but all to no avail.
She even followed him to Rome and went to work there, and after many years of prayers and tears, her reward came when her son was converted to the Faith. He did not only become a good Christian, as she prayed, but he also became a priest, a bishop, a great writer, and a very famous saint.
You must have heard the name of this very pious woman, because she is Saint Monica, and her son is Saint Augustine. Saint Monica’s life story tells us that we should not lose hope if our prayers are not answered right away. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples a parable about the necessity for them and us to pray without getting discouraged.
A few weeks ago, Mary McMichael, a parishioner of our sister parish, Resurrection, asked me to pray for her dog, Spare Parts, who, according to the vet, had a large tumor in his stomach. Those who know Mary are aware that her dog is her life. It is not surprising, therefore, that she took Spare Parts to the church before she went to the vet for the scheduled surgery. Before she left Resurrection that day, she asked me to bless her dog. We don’t have a sacrament of anointing of the sick for dogs, but I prayed over him and sprinkled him with holy water.
When she got to the animal hospital, just to be sure, the vet took another x-ray before he was supposed to do the surgery and discovered that the tumor was gone. He even wondered if it was the same dog.
Needless to say, she was ecstatic. And Mary McMichael and her dog, Spare Parts, lived happily ever after.
If we go back and take a closer look at our faith journey, each of us can remember a time when the Lord God answered our prayers. His way of responding to our petitions may be less dramatic than the experience of Saint Monica, or even of Mary McMichael, but He has touched our hearts and lives, so that we will be able to say that we indeed have a God who listens to us and answers our prayers.