Persistency in Prayer
In this short homily for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Father Hanly looks at The Parable of the Persistent Widow.
Readings for Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
- First Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
- Second Reading: Second Timothy 3:14-4:2
- Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Our gospel theme today is “Persistency in Prayer”: pray without ceasing, pray without losing heart.
Jesus tells his disciples: pray always without becoming weary. And today he tells us a parable, the parable of the corrupt judge.
“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?”
This last line brings us up short, as the saying goes. And we, too, must cry out and say:
Yes, God’s love never fails and God will love us to the end, and even more into eternity. Yes, God is faithful, but what of our own faith?
Are we, too, ready to rise up and echo the answer of St Peter to Jesus’ question when everyone was leaving him: “Will you, too, walk away?”
Shall we be ready to answer on that day as Peter: “To whom shall we go, Lord, for you alone have the words of eternal life.”
Persistence in prayer is not to be understood as trying to change God’s mind, as if God was unwilling to help us in the first place.
It’s we who need to change… “Not my will but thy will be done.”
His will is our peace. His Garden is our delight. His death on the cross is his gift of faith and a love that heals and saves us all.
And will he find a like faith and love coming from us in return for the love he poured out for us?
It is not easy to maintain one’s calm in a restless, unhappy world, or to be patient in a world gone mad with constant changes.
How to pray amidst the incessant noise and clamour of modern life?
Yes, you say, prayer is the answer, yet what is prayer that makes it the answer?
Prayer is simple, it is the gift of a person, the gift of Christ Jesus Himself.
His presence is a melding of hearts, the sharing of life and love, its thoughtfulness and mutual forgiveness.
Sometimes his words are spoken aloud, and sometimes with the silence of tears, but always, always he is present with us.
Our Lord is never far and we are never alone.