Gospel (Lk 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?”
In Jesus’ time, we can only imagine how hard it was to be a widow. Widows had no husband to support them, may not have a family to care for them, and were often helpless to protect themselves or to provide for themselves.
But Jesus tells the story of a widow who is NOT helpless – in fact she is very strong. She needs help from the judge to keep her safe. She pesters the judge until he takes care of her. She had to wait a long time and probably make many, many trips to see that judge, but in the end all of her work paid off.
Jesus wants us to be strong in faith and to seek God’s help as persistently as this widow sought the Judge’s help. Jesus is also telling us that sometimes having faith takes hard work and patience. He wants us to trust that God hears us and wants the best for us.
Sometimes we pray for something that we want very, very much. We pray for good grades, good friends, peace in the world and help for the poor. We rejoice when our prayers are answered but sometimes it doesn’t seem like much happens when we pray.
Jesus tells us that every prayer is heard – even if it isn’t answered right away. And he knows that if we keep asking for God’s help to live as he taught us to live that our biggest prayer, that we will feel God’s active presence in our lives and live with him forever, will be answered.