Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should pray continually and not lose heart. He said, «In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor people. In the same town was a widow who kept coming to him, saying: ‘Defend my rights against my opponent’. For a time he refused, but finally he thought: ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out’».
And Jesus explained, «Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?».
Looking at this gospel many of us have the temptation of reducing our prayer in to a simple supplication or demand. Jesus is inviting us to discover the generosity and the goodness of the Lord. Though supplication or demand is part of any sincere prayer, before this supplication, there is an imperative of establishing a good relationship with God. It is in this relationship that we are called to make a supplication. Since God is not an unknown person, this condition has to be fulfilled, before one could enter into prayer.
Prayer is essentially a relationship. This relationship is build by our confidence in the goodness of God and in His generosity. Without recognizing this crude reality, we can’t establish a healthy relationship with God. Once this relationship is established, we will never be discouraged in our prayers, because, this prayer becomes our source of hope.
It’s here that our faith is born. We enter into this relationship with this confidence and hope. Today Jesus is asking to each and every one of us, whether our faith in God is build in this divine love or it is conditioned by the grace demanded and received from the Lord? Do we have Faith?
«They should pray continually and not lose heart»
+ Fr. Joan FARRÉS i Llarisó
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, when the last days of the liturgical year are getting near, Jesus exhorts us to pray, to open ourselves to God. We may think as the family parents who —every day!— are expecting to receive from their sons some words showing their loving affection.
God, who is our Father, also expects these words. Jesus says it quite often in the Gospel and we know that to speak with God is to pray. Our prayer is the voice of faith of our belief in him, also of our confidence, and it would be great if it would always be the manifestation of our love.
For our prayer to be trustful and persevering, St. Luke says that «Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should pray continually and not lose heart» (Lk 18:1). We know we can pray by praising our Lord, by thanking him, or by acknowledging our human weakness —the sin—, and imploring God's mercy, but most of the time, we shall be demanding some grace or favor. And, even if we do not immediately get what we are asking for, only the very fact of being able to address ourselves to God, to explain to this Someone our sorrow or our worries, will already mean we have achieved something. And, surely —even if not immediately, but eventually— we shall get a reply, because «Will God not do justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night even if He delays in answering them?» (Lk 18:7).
With regard to this evangelic parable, St. John Climacus says «that judge who feared not God, finally yields to the widow's insistence so that she stops coming and wearing him out. God will do justice to the soul, his widow because of sin, in front of the body, his first enemy, and in front of all the devils, his invisible adversaries. The Divine Trader will certainly know how to properly trade in our good wares, to place his great goods at our disposal with amorous solicitude, and to promptly hear our prayers».
Perseverance in prayer, confidence in God. Tertulian said «God can be overcome only by prayer».