1st Reading – Exodus 17:8-13
The Book of Exodus (the word “exodus” means “departure”) is the second book in the five books of the Law (the Torah). This book tells of the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, the birth and education of Moses and his flight into the land of Midian, his encounter with God on Mount Sinai (Horeb) (the burning bush), Moses’ return to Egypt and pleadings with Pharaoh, the plagues of Egypt, the institution of the Passover, the passing through the Red Sea, the giving of the ten commandments at Mt. Sinai, the golden calf, and the 40 years of wandering in the desert.
The time between the crossing through the Red Sea and the arrival of the Israelites at Mount Sinai was three months. It was during this three month period that the people complained that they were thirsty. God commanded Moses to speak to a rock (he struck it with his staff) and water flowed from it for the people to drink. Jewish oral tradition must have held that this rock followed the Jews in their 40-year wandering because no such event is mentioned in the Old Testament. 1st Corinthians 10:4 however does record this “following rock”. How different this epistle might have been if Saint Paul had said “If it isn’t written in Scripture I won’t believe it.”
Our reading today occurs immediately after the rock story and explains why we (priests and charismatics at least) pray with arms outstretched.
2nd Reading – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Remember that Timothy is bishop of Ephesus. This bishop has encountered some difficulties and Paul now addresses this letter to him as pastor of his congregation. He invites Timothy to transmit his teaching to faithful men, urges him to fight as a soldier of Christ, anxious only to please his Master, to strive as the athlete who aspires to victory, and to labor as the husbandman who prepares for an abundant harvest. He is ever to keep in mind the sufferings of Christ, so that he may become a partaker in His immortal life and reign with Him. He is to remember Paul’s example as to how to live out the life of Christ.
Gospel – Luke 18:1-8
This week we hear the first of two parables on prayer (we will hear the second one next week). The question has often been put to Jesus “When and how will the end come?” Jesus always answered that we are to persevere in humility so that we will always be ready.
Bible Study guide from Fr. Cielo Almazan