Thirty Second Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Lk 18: 1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
PERSISTENCE PAYS: We live in a world of instant answers and instant coffee. Often when we do not get instant answers, we throw away the towel. This is the same with our prayer life. Review your patience, especially when you feel that God is not responding immediately to your prayers. Jesus encourages and invites us to be patient and constant in prayer; “pray always without becoming weary” (Lk 18:1). The widow kept on pestering until her request was granted by an unjust judge. Do the same in prayer: be constant and persevere in prayer. If the dishonest and unjust judge is able to answer the plea of this widow, how much more will our Heavenly Father who is just, answer our prayers? Let us pray persistently.
PRAYER: Lord, grant me deep faith so that I can never tire in seeking your face.
POWER OF PRAYER: More often what like of prayer is not prayer, rather it is a desire disguised. You send up a long list of wants. You have been taught certain prayers from your childhood and you have packed it all. It has become a habit, a mechanical routine. The unjust judge in the gospel is not a parallel to God, but the other pole. Leo Tolstoy has a story; Three simple peasants sat under a tree across the lake. And all the people of the town flocked to them, regarded them as great sages. They knew no theology, no scriptures, and had no visions. When questioned by the High priests couldn’t even come up with a prayer. They just muttered: “we are three, you are three, have mercy on us”. But they did the superhuman, they walked on the waters. And their life and their humility brought the high priest to their knees. Prayer is when you can completely trust God with your life; when you can leave your life into His safe hands and when you can say in faith: ‘He knows what I need even before I know of them”. And finally, when you say, ‘let Thy will be done’. It is a meaningful prayer.
PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER: Perseverance is the ability to keep pursuing a goal even when it seems far away. Perseverance in prayer is the disposition to keep seeking the face of God even when he seems absent. The widow in the gospel of today is rewarded due to two reasons: one, she was a widow, a vulnerable person; two, she kept coming to the judge and “bothering” him. We need to be vulnerable in the presence of God, acknowledging that we are helpless. Secondly, we need to be persistent in our prayer. As King David tells Solomon, “My son… If you seek God, he will let himself be found by you” (1Chron 28:9); we too will find God. Surely, the idea here is not praying just when we need help, but always, because we want to seek the face of God always.