Readings: Proper 24C
Faith Clings to the Word and Promises of God and Perseveres in Prayer
“Left alone,” Jacob wrestled through the night with the Lord, “until the breaking of the day” (Gen. 32:24). Though “Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him” (Gen. 32:25), he would not let go until the Lord blessed him. At times we, too, strive with God; He strives with us and blesses us by grace. So Jesus teaches us “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Jesus speaks of “a judge who neither feared God nor respected man” and of a widow “who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary’ ” (Luke 18:2–3). Because of her persistence, the judge agreed to “give her justice” (Luke 18:5). Our Lord dispenses justice generously and swiftly, giving “justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night” (Luke 18:7). He does so according to the Gospel. Therefore, His ministers are to persevere faithfully in their vocation, in what they “have learned and have firmly believed” (2 Tim. 3:14). On the basis of “the sacred writings” (2 Tim. 3:15), they are to “preach the word” at all times and not lose heart (2 Tim. 4:2).
Psalm 121 (antiphon: vv1-2)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Old Testament: Genesis 32:22-30
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Epistle: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
O Lord, almighty and everlasting God, You have commanded us to pray and promised to hear us. Mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may direct and govern our hearts in all things that we may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of Your name.