29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Adapted from the homily.

In 1966 a young Catholic pilot was shot down over Than Haon, North Vietnam. For almost eight years Jeremiah Denton was tortured, spending much of his time in solitary confinement in a cell the size of a refrigerator. He survived though. He was released and would go on to serve as commander of the Armed Forces Staff College and then as a US Senator for Alabama, the first Catholic elected to office in that state. Denton attributed his perseverance to two things. First, he said continuously, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give myself to you.” Second, he prayed the rosary. The Blessed Mother gave this POW the strength to persevere.

This is more of a motivational homily I offer you today, as the readings are all about perseverance. Moses persevered in keeping his arms raised during the battle with the Amelekites. St. Paul tells St. Timothy to persevere in preaching the Good News and maintaining the truth. And the widow from the Gospel persevered in exhorting the dishonest judge to render her a just decision. Moses, Timothy, and the widow all had good reasons to quit, but they didn't. They were rewarded for their perseverance.

It's tempting for us to to give up. We could quit on our country because of our presidential candidates, on our city because of the violence and economy, on the Cubs because they haven't won in 108 years. Please don't quit, especially on the Church. Because we will be victorious–Christ assures us of that.

If you feel tempted to give up, turn to the Blessed Mother. Mary will infuse in you the grace to persevere, as she did Commander Denton. Say a Hail Mary. Then when the victory comes you'll be around to celebrate.

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