Persist In Prayer – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily October 19, 2019

“There used to be a show I would watch.  I think it was on the Discovery Channel and the show was called, ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’ and really the show was a premise of people in these tragic accidents who are maybe in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic or Alaska and somehow they made it out and I don’t know why this was something that I like to watch, but maybe it was because the hope, it takes a lot of hope to endure such pain, such suffering and the mental and physical strain they went through, it was amazing, but there was something there that was in each one of them.  It was a sense of faith that if they persist, just maybe they would live and in those extreme circumstances that’s what they needed. They needed a certain faith and to hold on to that faith, but they needed to persist every day until someone might help them.

In today’s readings it talked about persistence in prayer.  In the Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a dishonest judge.  Now don’t relate the dishonest judge to God. It’s very loosely related.  It’s more saying that even a dishonest judge will cave or give with persistence, so wouldn’t an all knowing, all loving God, wouldn’t he do much more for us?  But often times in our lives we might look at our faith, we might look at our prayer as black and white, as all or nothing, as either failure or success, but our faith, our prayer isn’t that.  Mother Teresa’s quote that I love so much really speaks to this. She says, ‘We’re not called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful.’ And it’s so easy in the secular world to look at everything in our life as either success or failure, but our lives are more than that.  It’s a relationship. There is more to it. Being faithful is coming back even when we stumble. Being faithful is listening to that desire in our heart even when we can’t see it, even when we don’t know what it might mean. Being faithful is continuing to persist. You know the heart of prayer is faith and faith is a gift that is given to each one of us.  If you sit quietly before the Blessed Sacrament you start to hear your faith, you start to see it more clearly. Often times people say ‘seeing is believing’ and just because we don’t see our faith or we don’t see the fruits of our prayer, we stop believing, but maybe we’re looking at it through the wrong lens, we’re looking at it through the wrong lens we’re looking at it as all or nothing.  We’re not looking at it as a relationship. Now if you sit quietly before the Blessed Sacrament you start to hear the chatter of your heart and your mind, but that’s what prayer is meant to do. It’s meant to bring our minds and our hearts and lift it up to God, but without no strings attached. Often times we’re too afraid to truly pray, to truly speak our desires of our hearts, but that’s what we truly need to do is trust in the faith in God and to continue to persist, to be faithful and just if we do that maybe one day we will be able to see the graces of God in our life.  Maybe we will be able to see how our faith is forming.

The first reading shows a persistence of prayer.  Everyone in the great tradition of our faith, they didn’t do it without praying and in the first reading shows Moses, shows that when he was praying to God the battle went their way, but when he stopped it went the other way and sometimes we do need help and there that’s where he had hope to lift up his arms, but so too today we are needed not only in our prayers, but we are needed to sign something to help life.  Often times in the pro-life/pro-choice debate it might seem endless. It might seem like too much, but that’s why we need to persist, continue to pray, continue to be with all those who suffer, but today we’re given a real concrete thing we can do. At this moment I’d like everyone to pull these out, they’re in the pews and we’re going to give you a chance to sign this.

The Kansas Supreme Court recently created a nearly unlimited right to abortion to kill children up until their birth and really what signing this is is telling our legislature to reverse that ruling so that maybe we would have a choice as Kansans to vote for that not just six Supreme Court people, so this is a chance to stand up for life.  If you could, fill this out with your name and signature and just your address. You don’t have to put your email or phone number unless you want to be further contacted. All those who are 18 and older, we ask you to please sign this and at this moment we will give you a moment to fill this out, but as you come to receive the Eucharist today where Christ is truly present before us in the Eucharist, I ask you to continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage to persist in your prayer, to believe in your faith so that one day we will be able to see God truly before us.  Amen.”