Finding our Place
(29th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)
In 1876, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, not yet 25 years old, were faced with a decision. A proposal was made, to develop the Congregation in two branches: one contemplative and penitential, the other active in the apostolate. The former was to provide spiritual support to the latter.
The idea is similar to what we see in today’s reading from Exodus. As Joshua engaged Amalek in battle, Moses prayed from his vantage point on a hill. Thus, any time the soldiers looked up, they drew courage from seeing Moses in prayer.
We look to the Beautiful Lady often and say, “Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners, pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you.” We know that she prays constantly for us. She told us so herself.
But we are not passive recipients. La Salette Laity, in particular, can assume various roles. The image of Aaron and Hur in the first reading is especially striking in this context. They are not with Joshua on the battlefield. They are not praying as Moses is. Instead, when Moses’ arms grow tired, they find a creative way to enable Moses to continue his ministry. They are supporting both him and Joshua.
This story from Exodus is sometimes used to interpret Mary’s words about the arm of her Son. She is seen then as acting like Aaron and Hur, holding up the arm of Jesus as he intercedes for us.
In the celebration of the Eucharist, the priest at the altar may be likened to Moses on the hill. As he looks out upon the congregation and prays for them, he is not alone, but is supported by the people through their faithful and active participation in a variety of liturgical and other ministries in the Church.
Are you a Moses? The world needs your prayer, your example. The world needs to see you on the hill with your hands held high in prayer, in order to draw strength from your example and be converted, that we may all be the people God desires us to be.
Or maybe you are a Joshua, or an Aaron or Hur, or some other scriptural figure? We can all find our place in the Church and in the La Salette world.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.