For Sunday, October 16th, 2022
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?”
Have you ever been around a little child who won’t stop asking for that one thing, and the irony is that it’s the one thing they are not supposed to have at the moment? Perhaps you can relate because this has happened to you with your own children, or maybe it’s happened to you while babysitting. Either way, there seems always to be that one small, very persistent child that is determined to get what they want–and they are very transparent about it. Whatever the case, it is important to enforce the rules for their benefit. However, if they are persistent enough, you make a small compromise because you value your relationship with them and their clear communication. This hypothetical scenario with children illustrates what today’s Gospel is about.
Jesus encourages us to “pray always without becoming weary,” and he explains what this means through the use of a parable. In a certain village, there was a widow who needed something desperately. In biblical times, widows were often overlooked, marginalized, and vulnerable women. Because of this, God commanded charity toward widows to help support them (see Deuteronomy 26:12). Unfortunately for this widow, the unrighteous judge does not fear God or human beings. It sounds like he is preoccupied with the things of this world. Therefore, it is clear that she will not receive pity from him even though that is what the Law of Moses commands, and it condemns those who don’t (see Deuteronomy 27:19).
But this does not stop the widow. She continues begging and pleading with the unrighteous judge for a just decision, and eventually, he comes around. What changed in him? He grew to respect her, or more literally, to fear her. He saw how much she wanted the outcome, so he compromised.
This is where it gets very interesting: if the unjust judge can take pity on the widow, how much more will God the Father, the just judge, come to our aid? This is the exact point Jesus makes when he says, “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?… I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”
God is the giver of every good and perfect gift; he always knows what we need more than we do. So let us approach him knowing he is just. Let us still approach him with the same tenacity and grit as the persistent widow.
Today, and every day, ask God to bless your loved ones. Pray for your spouse, your children, your friends.