ICCH Bulletin of October 16, 2022
October 16, 2022 Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Ex 17:8-13 | 2 Tm 3:14-4:2 | Lk 18:1-8
In today’s Gospel, we have a parable about a judge and a poor widow who is seeking justice. The point of the parable is to teach an important lesson about the necessity of perseverance in prayer. Luke in the Gospel tells us not to be discouraged if we do not receive an immediate response to the prayer we make. In Palestine, every town or large village had a man appointed by the central authority in Jerusalem whose duty it was to settle all local disputes brought to him. This particular judge is called an unjust person, a totally corrupt individual, who cared for no one, neither God nor man. The widow, on the other hand, a helpless person, representing the anawim, the poor of Yahweh, and was looking for justice regarding her own property. She has only God as her protector and caretaker.
Now Jesus says that if a corrupt, egoistic judge can be eventually moved by the perseverance of a helpless widow, how much more so the all just all-merciful God will be moved to help his chosen friends who approach him in sincerity and filial love. Jesus goes further to explain himself about such a benevolent God who is like a good Father. He uses the example of the love of a parent towards his child. He asks them whether any parent among them would give a child a stone when he asked for bread. Or will he give a scorpion when he asks for an egg? Would he give a snake when a child asks for a fish? Naturally, their answer would be no, they would not do anything bad for their child. If even worldly parents will give their children what they need and not give anything dangerous says Jesus, how much more the loving God in heaven will see to the needs of his children.
The two characters in the parable, an unjust judge and a widow, set up an immediate contrast. While a just judge was not considered to be divine, a judge was expected to be just and caring and manifest the same values and practices associated with the Lord. The widow is portrayed as being in a plight of having to fight in court for what was justly hers but was denied her because of her vulnerability. We are led to expect that the unjust judge will support the widow’s oppressors and rule against her. Thus in this parable of today, Jesus teaches us to persevere in our prayer and not to lose heart if the request is not granted immediately. In his teachings, Paul repeated these instructions of Jesus. He preached to the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing, to pray always and to be at the service of the Lord, and to be ardent in spirit.
What Jesus teaches his disciples is that our perseverance in the prayer of petition develops our trust and confidence in God. It helps us to become humble and to realize how weak we are when left to ourselves. It keeps us close to God, as we learn how dependent we are on his generosity. If we only would realize that God is perhaps never closer to us than when we think he is forgetting us or that he has abandoned us.
The Gospel tells us that if only we persevere in our asking God for anything, he will respond to us. He gives us the message to pray always without growing weary. Secondly, we must have faith that God is with us, even when we do not immediately see the results of our prayers. Thirdly he wants us always to be concerned with justice for the rich and the poor for God cares for us equally. Surely it means asking for those things which will bring us closer to God, those things that help us to know, love, and serve him better. The prayer of asking is at the heart of this passage. When Thomas Aquinas takes up the question of prayer, it is a study of the prayer of asking because, in a sense, it contains all our dependence on God and our faith. It is our sense of being loved that empowers us to turn to God and ask for ourselves and the need of others.
Source: Fr. Eugene Lobo S.J.Shimoga, India, shortened from https://msjnov.wordpress.com/2022/10/11/twenty-ninth-sunday-october-16-2022/ Image: John Everett Millais - Parable of the Unjust Judge
- 16 October - Confessions will take place after Mass this Sunday.