NOVEMBER 13. Ord Time B. Wk 32. Sat. Lk 18. 1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’
And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’
Christ, on the way to Jerusalem to endure his Passion and Death, here gives some very important advice to his followers; - “You need to pray continually, and never lose heart!” He gives this advice because he is aware of the importance of prayer to his followers if they are to be faithful to his teachings.
It is very easy for Christians to think there is no need for prayer or divine grace in order to be a follower of Christ, but that is not what our own experience teaches? We are all sinners and as a result we need to be seeking the assistance of divine grace by every possible means.
This was why Christ gave us so many aids to help us overcome the temptations of Satan and the pressures put upon us by the very materialistic and self-centred society which has existed since the time of Christ; - with prayer being the most fundamental means for obtaining divine grace.
Other gifts include being given Christ’s own Mother from the Cross to be our mother (the mother of the Church); - the Church itself; - the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Confession; - the scriptures; - the saints; - the liturgy and the gospels; - all of which we should make us of on a regular, and even daily, basis.
Christ was very conscious that in a very short time he would no longer be living among his disciples, and that his Passion and Death would lead to their faith being severely tested. They needed to be made aware the gift or prayer was at their disposal.
It is a simple truth the Christian vocation cannot be lived without frequent recourse to both prayer and sacrament, and nobody was more aware of this than Christ himself; - but we need to be aware he added a significant warning; - “and never lose heart,” - indicating an answer to one’s prayer will often be delayed in order to test one’s faith.
The main message of this gospel is that persistence is also a very important component of prayer. Note how we are told “for a long time the judge refused the widow’s request; - but since she keeps pestering him, he will give her the response she seeks!”
When it comes to prayer it is not just persistence that gives it value, but the fact, in continuing to pray for our requests when they are not granted immediately, we give witness to our Faith and Trust in God’s merciful love; - an attribute that honours and pleases the creator!
Gospel Acclamation cf.2Th2:14
God has called us with the gospel
to achieve the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First reading Wisdom 18:14-16,19:6-9 The Red Sea became an unimpeded way
When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night had run the half of her swift course,
down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word;
into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt.
Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword,
he stood, and filled the universe with death;
he touched the sky, yet trod the earth.
For, to keep your children from all harm,
the whole creation, obedient to your commands,
was once more, and newly, fashioned in its nature.
Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud,
where water had been, dry land was seen to rise,
the Red Sea became an unimpeded way,
the tempestuous flood a green plain;
sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across,
gazing at these amazing miracles.
They were like horses at pasture,
they skipped like lambs,
singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.