Have you ever seen soldiers in movies or in real life when they see a flag or a higher officer would pass by in front of them? - They salute to show their loyalty and respect. How do you make the hand salute? - you raise hand like this …
Newly elected officials or newly graduates are usually asked to take an oath of allegiance, of being faithful to their profession. And to do this oath, they are asked to raise their hands like this …
Likewise, when you get caught by the police, you show both hands up high to show that you surrender to the authority. So raising hands shows loyalty, respect, allegiance, faithfulness, and surrender.
In the first reading, we also heard of another raising of hands. We heard that Amalek came and waged war against Israel. And in order for them to win, Moses have to maintain his hands raised because when the hands are raised, Israel had a better fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight. So they have had to support his hands. Because he was holding on his hands the staff of God, a sign of God’s presence among them and that they are with God. By HOLDING ON to God, in RAISING HANDS to God, and in REMAINING in God, THEY WON the battle.
As Christians we should be raising our hands to God too. We should make our allegiance with Him, to respect, be loyal and remain in Him. Never to surrender to any obstacles in life if we want to attain the price of winning everlasting life at the end of the battle. The only time that we should raise our hands to surrender is when we have to surrender to the will of God. We raise our hands to heaven and pray. "For our help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth. We remain faithful to what we have learned and believed." Furthermore, we should also raise our hands to proclaim the Word, to be messengers and witnesses of the joy of the Gospel. And in proclaiming the Word we should be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
So my dear parents and parishioners, when you pray to God, as Jesus said in the Gospel, be persistent so that you'll get what you want. Maintain holding your hands up high like the way these kids raise their hands, insisting and persisting to be called by their school teacher in class. Hold them up high and never get weary nor rest it, like Moses did to win the battle against Amalek. But I hope that when you raise your hands to heaven and pray, you'll raise them not only for the things you need, but also as a sign of your YES, to your faithfulness, your firmness in faith, and your promise to remain in His love. For God is merciful especially to those who are persistent and faithful. He secures the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night.
For you my dear boys, take note of this: the first communion is not a social activity that when it’s done you don’t come back to church anymore. It is not an activity to have party then goodbye going to church. The first communion is your way of raising your hands, to show your allegiance with God and the community, your way of saluting God, your way of saying yes that you are one with the community in being firm in faith, in remaining in Christ, and in not be weary praying to God. It more is expected from you who are to receive the sacrament of confirmation, because that’s the day that you will be proven that you are indeed firm, faithful, and persistent. That is why, it’s a pity that after last year’s confirmation I only see 4 or 5 boys coming back to church and attend Mass on Sundays and their parents doesn't come anymore to mass also.
And so I ask you my dear friends, please pray for these kids, that they be firm, faithful and persistent in their faith. And I too shall pray to God for all of you that you may also be firm, faithful, and persistent in your Christian life.