29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

ON HOLY GROUND, TOGETHER

By John Dalla Costa (Parishioner)

If we seek a sign for stewardship, or desire scriptural guidance for participative ministry, we can’t do better than with today’s first reading from Exodus. With outstretched arms Moses transmits God’s grace to Israel. Yet at this moment of crisis the need is overwhelming. On his own, Moses can only do so much. So others in the community improvise. Audaciously, they too assume the holy stance, supporting Moses’ arms so that the people would continue receiving consecration.

Stewardship is a shared vocation. As with Aaron and Hur assisting Moses, there are times when ministry to community hinges on our bringing personal strengths, gifts and talents to bear on the outcome.

Baptism confers this priestly potential in each of us. But assuming this vocation cannot be ad hoc. Writing to his acolyte Timothy, Paul describes on-the-job training for stewards. Jesus is our model, and aim: his presence in our lives, through faith, guides us in understanding our role in serving God’s church. Paul also points to scripture “for training in righteousness,” to gain proficiency as teachers, mediators, conflict-healers, and to be “equipped for every good work.”

Proximity to holiness is a privilege not to be taken lightly. “Pray always” Jesus told his disciples, and do not “lose heart.” Today’s parable cautions that help is not available on-demand. God is not an ATM. But Jesus assures us that steady, constant, continuous prayer works profoundly. It’s not that repetition wears God down, but rather that such habits of prayer prepare us to receive vocation, and the abundant grace for fulfilling its duties.