Hold Until Relieved

Sunday August 11th 2019 19th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)

The tie in between today’s readings: Fighting the good fight

Psalm 33:1; 12-22, Wisdom 18:6-9, Hebrews 11:1-2; 8-19, Luke 12:32-48

It is a few hours until dawn. The airstrikes had been relentless since the day before, wreaking havoc on the remnants of a rebel stronghold dug in on the crest of the hill. Captain Davis reads the report from his last patrol and crumples it up as tight as the knot in his stomach. He calls for his exhausted and battered troops to assemble. Whatever happens, it will be over today.

Davis summons his courage, surveys the scene, and addresses the corps. “At ease men,” he begins, “The enemy will have us surrounded and advance at first light. The last message from headquarters many days ago reads: ‘Hold until relieved.’ I will continue to act upon those orders.”

“We are all volunteers here,” he continues, “The conditions that you soldiers are enduring undoubtedly tests the metal and motives of your convictions. If there are any here that wish to return home before the fighting, now is the time. Judgment will come from your conscience and one greater than I, but not from me.”

A smattering of soldiers step forward and disarm.

“Sergeant, escort these men out of camp,” he commands. All wait in silence until they leave. Captain Davis continues his remarks: “Those men were not cowards! They are lost! They forgot why they were here. But not you men…NOT YOU! You remember very well how things drastically changed from the beginning to create the unbearable conditions of today. We looked back and agonized to return to our roots. We worked within the system only to weep for our dead, betrayed by those in power. We were helpless, hopeless, and pitiful until…The days of the Prophets, when the cry of ‘NO MORE’ rose in the world and everything changed.”

Davis gazes at his men, and proceeds: “The first prophet, who with eyes of faith, claimed His inheritance and staked out a new beginning, a new country in the desert. The man who laid everything on the altar and inspires us to sacrifice and take our places as the children of that one true nation! The middle prophet, who brought the beginning of that nation into being against tremendous odds. The last Prophet, the greatest of all, commands us today with the assurance of victory!”

“We share in their vision and carry on in the faith of those that have died in this struggle,” he pauses in remembrance before continuing, more passionately now, “They did not receive the promise, but they live in us as we battle to secure the birthright for ourselves and our children. AND WE SHALL! NO MORE will we be strangers in our own land! NO MORE will we grovel! NO MORE will we die with our faces in the dirt! We have LOOKED UP and seen that bright city on a hill. We KNOW there is a land for us called “home”. WE STAND and take our place as its citizens. We MARCH even now toward its borders. And we FIGHT any and all who oppose us. We shall win the day for our posterity. WE WILL NOT BE DENIED!!!”

The Captain steps down from the stage and walks among the ranks: “So get ready! Stay sharp! The battle is upon us. Today, we are all brothers in blood! I expect every man to do his duty. Command’s coming! We shall fight and hold until relieved. Command’s coming! We shall never waver. Command’s coming! Victory and glory are ours! Command’s coming! And so we are FIERCE! FORMIDABLE! FATAL! Command’s coming! There is NO RETREAT! NO SURRENDER! NO FEAR! Because Command’s coming, COMMAND’S COMING! COMMAND IS COMING! NOW GO!!!”

The determined soldiers scramble to their positions and prepare for dawn.

Back at headquarters, General Masters checks the latest intel from their pirated satellite. He smiles. “Patch me into the Troops,” he orders, “In a very short time, we will launch our offensive. The enemy has shifted his position toward Captain Davis’ corps on hill 666. He believes his overwhelming force will sweep them from the face of the earth. But he is wrong He is exposed. Today, we will strike a fatal blow. Stay steady. Follow your orders. The day is ours! Now let’s rescue those brave men and end this thing. Masters out.”

Let us never forget that we are in a war. Jesus by His Cross and resurrection has already won the battle over sin and death. Our adversary, the Devil, is defeated, but not confined. Christ, our commander, has enlisted us in His army to finish the work. So put on the armor of God, always remembering that our battle is spiritual and so we must advance in prayer on our knees. Keep up the struggle in the pursuit of personal holiness, love of neighbor, and salvation for the souls. Do not grow weary or discouraged. Command is coming! Victory is ours! Maranatha! 

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