In the Old Testament there are all sorts of signs and images which point to the future, to the New Testament and to the person, ministry, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact the Old Testament is a basic foundation to which return should be made at regular and frequent intervals. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions – if we do not know where we are coming from we cannot possibly know where we are going. We do not come only from the person of Jesus. We come from the opening verses of GENESIS and God’s creative power and action.

THIS SUNDAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF EXODUS [17: 8 – 13]

provides us with a powerful image of the Lord on the Cross – as well as the victory it achieved. Moses himself is the image of Jesus Christ, and this particular incident creates a compelling foreshadowing of the Lord nailed to the Cross on Calvary. It should be helpful if here we recall Moses leading the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea in order to escape slavery and enter into the Promised Land (of liberation and divine purpose). So we are led by the Risen Christ through the waters of Baptism (set free from the slavery of sin – FOR A PURPOSE!).

The incident with Moses going up to the top of the hill” is an image of Jesus going up to Calvary. The Amalekites were the enemies of Israel in exactly the same way as the sinfulness of the human condition was the ‘enemy’ which confronted Jesus whose arms were extended on the cross. Moses needed support for his arms as he stretched them out – and his handswere steady until the going down of the sun. … and Joshua mowed down Amalek” It is interesting that all three Synoptic gospel accounts record that on Calvary “from midday a darkness fell over the whole land.” {see MT 27:45, MK 15: 33, & LK 23: 44} AND, the enemy of sin was mowed down.

Now, take a look at THIS SUNDAY’S PSALM [121 or 120] and understand phrases from these compelling verses …. I lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall come my help …. the Lord your guard .. your shade … by day the sun shall not smite you, nor the moon in the night …. (he) will guard your going and coming.” When I read these phrases, I am only able to say “WOW!” Yet, it all makes so much sense!

Now we add words from OUR NEW TESTAMENT EXTRACT [2 TIMOTHY 3: 14 – 4:2]. Continue in what you have learnt and have firmly believed … you have been acquainted with the Sacred Writings which are able to instruct you .. in Christ Jesus. … all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching …” CONTINUE! But we cannot know where we are going unless we know where we are coming from!

However, we are also faced with challenges from THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 18: 1 – 8]. Let us start at the end of the extract and face that withering question: Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” I must be faithful to the end! Will I be?

Faithful to the cause! The widow of today’s Gospel parablewas focussed and persevering. She knew that the judge needed to be consistently prodded. If my cause is just and right God-in-Christ will take my side and be at my side, but I need to show that I am serious and my cause is just and right. Faithfulness and perseverance are essentially linked to what is right, just and true. How is it possible to remain faithfully persevering to a lie?!

Moses persevered and when his hands grew weary” assistance was elicited. The cause against Amalek was just and right. Victory (as with the Gospel’s widow) was not immediate or instantaneous. Jesus had to walk the way of the Cross – he, too, had to be faithful and persevere. We know from the Gospel accounts that he grew weary but he plodded on. Let us not forget that the scriptures tell us that he also received assistance in the person of Simon of Cyrene.

If Jesus accepted Simon’s assistance why do we, so very often, refuse offers of help from our brothers and sisters? In fact we can, at times, feel miffed when it is offered. There is a tendency in all of us to ‘do it alone.’ THIS IS NOT THE WAY OF THE GOSPEL. Our Psalm tells us that help shall come from the Lord.” Very often that help comes through the support, energies, and presence of other disciples. We should not be too proud to accept.

We should not be unwilling to admit our spiritual inadequacies which must not hinder progress to our destination. Help is at hand!