What does active faith look like?
In this week’s Gospel text from Luke, the widow making her case to the dishonest judge does so not just with words, but with her whole being, persistently. And if this (bad) judge can offer her a good sentence, then just think what God can do when we pray! The widow, for her part, acts toward a goal, and her prayer is thus itself active. She reminds us that passivity is not an acceptable stance for faith – not in prayer, not in anything we do. To the contrary, we are called to live our faith actively, with God always before us. The widow is a model of active relationship with God.
Sunday’s first reading from Exodus gives us another model of constant, active prayer. The Israelites have crossed the Red Sea and are heading into a wilderness, the unknown, a place where they have no control. There, they battle the Amalekites, and Moses must rely on God to work through him: just as Moses leans on his staff for support, so does he lean on God. His own prayer is a prayer for those fighting: they know God is with them. As Psalm 121 reminds us, his help is from the Lord, his guardian, his shade. With his staff, Moses reminds us that constant, active prayer is possible even in our moments of deepest weariness, and that active faith feeds our relationship with our Creator.
Our active participation in the life of the church is thus rooted in constant prayer, but it doesn’t end there. As Paul reminds Timothy, we must remain faithful to and proclaim the word, being persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient – an act that is itself a form of prayer. Persistence in prayer, persistence in faith: we are charged, each and every one of us, with the active proclamation of the Good News with our lives, showing the world how Jesus is present in those lives, and just how much his love matters. It doesn’t get more active than that.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.