Gospel – Luke18:1-8
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?”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Up until recently, one of my brothers ran marathons. He would run one full marathon and an half one each year! He was asked to speak to a group of runners who were preparing to run a marathon for the first time. At question time, he was asked what it took to run a full marathon. His reply was honest and sincere; it takes time, discipline, practice, patience and perseverance. Not bad advice; this could also be a very good description of what it takes to be a follower of Jesus and live a life of prayer.
The gospel this Sunday begins with a very clear statement that is very relevant for us today; ‘Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.’ He tells the story of a woman who goes to a judge seeking justice. She keeps at him, refusing to give up or give in. In the end he gives up and gives her what she is seeking. Jesus says that we when we come to God in prayer, we are to have the same courage, strength and perseverance as the woman. We are not to give up or give in. So perhaps as it is when preparing to run a marathon, a life of prayer also takestime, discipline, practise, patience and perseverance. It won’t happen automatically or by itself. I can talk about prayer, I can read bout prayer and I can even watch others pray, but unless I make a start myself, I will never learn to pray. As the saying goes, practise make perfect!
Let’s be honest, sometimes maintaining a regular prayer life can be difficult, even frustrating. It can feel as if our prayers are not being heard or answered. This can be disheartening. But Jesus encourages us not to give up or to give in; he simply says to us, keep going, hang in there, I am with you and I am listening to you.
What do I when I can’t pray? I try to pray! I pray the prayers I have known since I was a child; The Our Father, The Hail Mary and The Rosary. As St. Paul says to us in his letter to the Ephesians; ‘Pray at all times, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for God’s people.’ (6.18).
When we sit or kneel to pray, it is worth remembering that it is always God who calls us to pray in the first place. Our decision to pray is our response to that divine and sacred call. Prayer is about our daily relationship God. It nourishes and strengthens our friendship with God. Prayer is not just about us talking to God; it also and perhaps more importantly about us listening to God. In the Old Testament, God calls young Samuel. Eventually, Samuel responds, ‘Speak, Lord, I am listening.’
Today and this coming week, I ask God to give me the same courage, faith, patience and perseverance as the woman in the gospel. May I too approach God with hope and humility. May I pray continually and never lose heart.
Brother Michael Moore, OMI
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.