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The lectionary readings for this 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time seem like a chain whose links build a good argument for “stick-to-itiveness” (Can that really be a word?!)

First we have Moses and the Israelites in a battle with Amalek which seems rather outrageous. Moses is up at the top of a hill watching the battle led by Joshua. His staff in hand, Moses watches and directs the fight. (Here’s the part that seems rather strange.) “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight but when he grew tired Amalek got the advantage.” Happily, Moses had a rock to sit on when his legs got tired and two men to hold up his arms when his arms were giving out, so Israel won the fight. (Perseverance with a little help: yes?)

Next we have Psalm 121 (1-8) with all kinds of encouragement about how “our help is from the Lord,” followed by Paul’s challenge to Timothy (TM 4: 1-2) to “be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient,” advising him specifically to “convince, reprimand and encourage through all patience and teaching.” (That last part — patience and teaching — seems to me the most likely to be effective.)

Finally we have the story of the unjust judge who rendered a decision in favor of the woman whose presence and bothering would not let him rest. His reasoning is weak but the point of the woman’s perseverance is made and drives home the point of all the elements in the chain. Moreover, it seems to me that it all can be summed up by the verse before the gospel that assures us: “The word of God is living and active, discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (HEB 4:12)