Year C: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Luke 18: 1-8
When Jesus tells the parable of the widow persevering in her demands for justice in the face of the opposition of a uncaring judge, He is offering His listeners (including us!) a memorable image of what persevering in prayer means.
There can’t be anyone who has not felt that their prayer was getting them nowhere - that it was all a waste of time - and been tempted to lose heart and give up. Jesus knew this would happen - in fact, He had probably met people who had felt their prayers weren’t answered - and many who had lost heart.
It is a fact of prayer that there will be times when we won’t get what we ask for - however fervently we pray. People may “reassure” us and say that we are obviously not praying for the right thing. They are probably right - but it isn’t much of a consolation. Sometimes, our prayer isn’t asking for anything - and we still feel that God isn’t listening - even to our words and prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
There is no easy explanation for this. It simply is the way it is!
But, as we have seen often during our reading of Luke’s Gospel - there is a challenge that comes with being chosen - and it is in facing the challenge that we grow stronger and more faith-filled.
The easiest option when facing any challenge - in all aspects of our life - may seem to be to give it all up as a bad job! In the short-term, this may even seem to have been the right thing to do.
But somewhere inside, there usually remains a niggle - what if I had...? We may see people who faced the same challenge as us and who did see it through - and we see their growth as people. We may convince them - and even sometimes ourselves! - that we don’t envy them - but we may also realise “what might have been”.
Jesus is trying to encourage His disciples to see beyond the short-term failures and lack of response from God. If, in the end, even the unjust judge caves in and gives justice - how much more can we trust that the God of Justice will see justice done for us.
Jesus concludes - rather sadly it seems - by asking “Will He find any faith on earth?”
Perhaps aware of how easily people lose heart - especially in the face of persecution - He wonders whether there will be anyone who will continue to trust - and to pray - when nothing seems to be happening.
What does it mean for me?
Text © 2006 WellspringWeekly Wellsprings ]