Perseverance in Prayer

Luke 18: 1-8
Wis 18:14-16; 19:6-9 / Ps 105

Will not God then bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them?
(Luke 18:7)

If an evil judge could relent
And give justice to a widow’s plea,
With our prayers what can prevent
God’s mercy from coming speedily?

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, lest she finally come and strike me!’ And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Won’t God then bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”


Today’s Gospel gives us a few things to reflect on the parable of the persistent widow. First of all, Jesus’ story is meant to encourage the faithful on the efficacy of prayers — if done with perseverance and boldness. Our Lord employs a widow in this parable to emphasize that even the weakest can attain victory against great odds if she only persists in her plea. Secondly, if the other character in the story, a dishonest judge who had no fear of God, could have a change of heart in the widow’s favor, how much more for our heavenly Father, Who is fair, just and compassionate? Finally, the most important reason why we must pray with all our heart is so that we may learn to put our total dependence on God, and not on our own capabilities. It is our humility and total dependence on Him that will fortify our faith.

Our faith is our Lord’s foremost concern. It is weakened when we give less time to God in prayer. Jesus wants our life to be balanced and centered in prayer, because the danger lies in both ends of the scale. On one end is pride, and on the other is despair. We can become so proud of our accomplishments or self-sufficiency that we may no longer find the need to pray. Or we can be so worn down and discouraged by our trials and perceived failures that we stop praying, stop hoping, stop expecting God to intervene. Jesus asks us: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:8) Let us take hope in St. Paul’s words: “My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor.15:58)

Father of Justice, protect us in these uncertain times when evil men threaten the stability and peace of our family, our church, and the institutions of society. May the power of your grace influence all our leaders in government, especially those in our justice system to be steadfast in their calling, and in resisting the temptations and/or coercions of evil men. Let your Holy Spirit shield them, Lord, with Your gifts of prudence, integrity and wisdom. AMEN.

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