The Lord is our guardian, beside us at our right hand, interceding for us in all our spiritual battles.
In Sunday’s psalm, we’re told to lift our eyes to the mountains, that our help will come from Mount Zion and the Temple — the dwelling of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Joshua and the Israelites, in the first reading, are also told to look to the hilltops. They are to find their help there — through the intercession of Moses — as they defend themselves against their mortal foes, the Amalekites.
Notice the image: Aaron and Hur standing on each side of Moses, holding his weary arms so that he can raise the staff of God above his head. Moses is being shown here as a figure of Jesus, who also climbed a hilltop, and on Mount Calvary stretched out his hands between heaven and earth to intercede for us against the final enemy — sin and death (see 1 Corinthians 15:26).
By the staff of God, Moses bested Israel’s enemies (see Exodus 7:8-12; 8:1-2), parted the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:16) and brought water from the rock (see Exodus 17:6). The cross of Jesus is the new staff of God, bringing about a new liberation from sin, bringing forth living waters from the body of Christ, the new Temple of God (see John 2:19-21; 7:37-39; 19:34; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
Like the Israelites and the widow in today’s Gospel, we face opposition and injustice — at times from godless and pitiless adversaries. We, too, must lift our eyes to the mountains — to Calvary and the God who will guard us from all evil.
We must pray always and not be wearied by our trials, Jesus tells us. As Paul exhorts in the epistle, we need to remain faithful, to turn to the inspired Scriptures — given by God to train us in righteousness.
We must persist, so that when the Son of Man comes again in kingly power, he will indeed find faith on earth.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.