Gospel according to Luke (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?”
Every time I go to the National Shrine of our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays, I am always fascinated by one scene: that of Our Lady’s devotees who move toward the altar, traversing the aisle oh their knees as they mumble their prayers: One can only be amazed and enthralled by this untiring and persistent devotion among the faithful in presenting their petitions before God, very much like the widow in the parable of today’s Gospel. The parable of the persistent widow offers us three points for reflection: persistence, perseverance, and providence.
Persistence. The Gospel tells us that the widow is an example of one who is unwavering in her persistent attitude of bothering the unjust judge, forcing him to render a just decision in favor of her against her adversary. The Lord challenges us that we too should be persistent in our petitions before the Father, that we should be daring as we ask him of our needs. With a steadfast goal, may we be like the widow who, despite the judge’s unwillingness to respond to her plea, remains full of conviction in asking God to grant us our petitions!
Perseverance. As the widow persisted before the unjust judge to render her justice, she was also steady in her faith that she would be heard by the judge who “neither fear[ed] God nor respect[ed] any human being.” The Lord assures us that if non-God-fearing and unjust people can still provide favorable judgment, how much more will our Father in heaven be generous in granting the prayers of his children? We are called then to imitate the widow’s attitude of perseverance in prayer life, to hold on to God with unwavering faith even (and especially) when the going gets rough.
Providence. Lastly, the parable shows to us God’s nature that is totally in contrast to a ruler of this world: that our God is just, truthful, loving, and most of all, providential. All our efforts may be nothing if God decides not to provide us with what we ask of him. But God’s generosity toward his children can never be outdone! Just like the widow in the parable who was fervent in her faith that the judge will provide her the justice she needs, may we too become open to, God’s providence in our lives, fervent in our faith that we are loved by him: he will surely grant us our petitions that are in accord with his will.
– CI. Jerome P. Ypuleng, SSP