Today’s readings speak to us about the virtue of persistence. St. Paul was one who modeled persistence in his life and ministry. He quite often ran up against not only opposition, but also danger and imprisonment designed to thwart his preaching. But Paul was filled with the Spirit and would not let anything deter him from doing the Lord’s work. And so he could easily encourage, well, even command Timothy to “be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.”
And we need to hear this encouragement too. Because it’s easy enough for us to preach the word in our thoughts, words and deeds when it’s convenient. But the moment it becomes a little embarrassing, or when we’re in a situation in which we don’t want to stir up trouble, or if we think that others might think less of us, well it’s far too easy to let our witness slip away. It’s easy to be fervent believers at Mass, but miss the opportunity to do the Lord’s work the rest of the day. That’s simply human nature, and it affects all of us.
But maybe the example of the Widow is what we need to follow. Her witness didn’t have to be all about making a big scene or calling attention to herself. Indeed the only one who even noticed, probably, was Jesus, the One who sees everything. But that doesn’t mean that her witness didn’t cost her anything. Indeed, it probably cost her almost everything she had in the world. But nothing would stop her from witnessing.
And so we must ask ourselves today and every day: when we “go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” what will that witness look like? Will we be able to say with St. Paul at the end of the day, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith?” If we can, we too can await that crown of righteousness. Please God, let us all be able to be crowned with it one day.