Opening Question: Has anyone ever lied to you? Has that same person told you the truth? Is it hard to believe that person? Why?
First Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Timothy! Stay faithful to what you learned and what you believe in. You know where you learned about Jesus. You knew the Bible from the time you were a baby. The Bible can help you understand how you can trust Jesus to save you. God breathed his Spirit throughout the Bible. So, it is useful for teaching others, for showing others how they have gone the wrong way and how they can return to God, and for instructing everyone the right way to live. When someone is taught in this way, he has the right tools to do good things.
I swear before God and Christ Jesus, who will soon come to judge everyone alive or dead, by the appearance of Jesus and his coming Kingdom: Preach God’s Word. Stay strong in good times or bad. Be honest with others, tell them the right way, and encourage them with all the patience and teaching ability you have.
Jimmy had two uncles, Uncle Ted and Uncle Charles. Jimmy liked Uncle Ted because Uncle Ted told stories and played games. It was easy to like Uncle Ted because he wanted to be liked. Uncle even told stories that were not true so people could have a good time.
Jimmy didn’t like Uncle Charles because he was always serious. Uncle Charles really wasn’t mean, but didn’t go out his way to play with Jimmy either. But, there was one thing you could always depend on Uncle Charles to do, tell the truth. If Uncle Charles didn’t know the answer to something, he would tell you he didn’t know. He would never try to mislead anyone.
As Jimmy grew up, he still liked Uncle Ted, but didn’t take him all that seriously. But, Jimmy grew to respect Uncle Charles. In the end, Jimmy wanted to be like both uncles. He wanted to be friendly like Uncle Ted, but he promised himself to tell the truth like Uncle Charles, even when it was hard.
We all want to be liked. But we all know how important it is to tell the truth. When it is hard to tell the truth, don’t give up. Telling the truth is the right and good thing to do. Why? When we tell someone the truth, we’re telling them we trust them.
The early Christians told others about Jesus even when people hated them for spreading the Good News. But they trusted God and didn’t give up.
Bridging Question: Persistence means “never giving up.” How important is persistence? Have you ever known someone who never gave up?
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Using a parable, Jesus told his followers they needed to always pray and to never give up:
Once, in a city, there was a judge who didn’t care about God or people. A widow in that city kept coming to the judge with a complaint. “Protect me from my enemy!” the woman said over and over.
For a while, he refused her. But, in the end, he thought, “I don’t care about God or people. But, this widow keeps bothering me. So, I will protect her, or she will come again and again until she wears me out!”
Listen to what the judge said! Won’t God protect his followers who keep praying to him day and night? Will he delay? No! I tell you he will protect them quickly. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faithful followers left in the world?
“Never give up!” Josie exclaimed. That was Josie’s saying and motto. Anyone who knew Josie knew she was very serious about sticking to something. Josie had a quality called “perseverance.”
Josie wasn’t a really smart person, but she got “A’s” because she tried so hard. Josie wasn’t a great athlete but she always got “Most Inspirational Player” because of her positive spirit. Her spirit seemed to get other people pumped up, even when her team was losing or her class was down.
One time, Josie’s soccer team was losing the championship semifinal game. Down by a goal in the final moments of the game, Josie’s team felt depressed. The opposing team members began to yell “Losers” and singing “We are the Champions.” Even the parents of the opposing team began to yell rude comments.
Sensing the feelings on the field, the coach sent Josie in on a throw-in with one command “Get the ball!” Josie went out with enough intensity for an entire team. Josie was not about to give up! She ran after the ball and fought hard for position. Suddenly, she broke away with the ball and ran to the opponents goal. With all her might she kicked the ball past the waiting arms of the goalie. “One down, one to go!” Josie yelled. Her yell became a chant for one team member, then another, and another. “One down, one to go! One down, one to go!” Soon the coach and the parents were yelling the same thing and the opposing teams bench got really quiet.
Both teams lined up for the kick off. Lined up as a mid-fielder, Josie intercepted the other team’s kick-off and booted the ball deep into their territory. Running at full speed, the center forward did her job and set up the play. Running toward the guarded goal with the ball, the forward flipped the ball back to a charging Josie. With a well placed kick, Josie sailed the ball into the air, just as the whistle blew ending the game. The ball landed into the net and the referee signed a goal for Josie’s team. Josie’s team mobbed her with cheers and tears.
Never give up. Josie’s motto is the teaching of Jesus. Never give up in prayer or faith. God wants you to always pray and always believe. Never give up!
Closing Question: How can you persist when you pray to God?