for Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Second Letter to Timothy, from which our second reading comes today, tells us this piece of wisdom: "You have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." Clearly the lesson today is to seek wisdom and to listen attentively to the Lord and others as we seek God's wisdom.
The first reading is from the Book of Exodus and that wonderful story of Moses holding up his hands in prayer. As long as his hands are held up, the army of Israel wins in battle. When Moses tires and lowers his hands, the other armies begin to win. This is a story that is repeated in the Gospel: never weary of praying because, in truth, it is only prayer than can change the world.
The Gospel today is from Saint Luke and tells the story of a widow dealing with an unjust judge. As we hear the details of this judge, we understand why the widow is upset. The judge does not fear God and does not respect any human being! There really is no hope for the widow. We don't know the details of the widow's case which she brings before the judge. She is not asking that the judge favor her, only that he render a just decision. This widow is relentless! She just keeps pestering the judge until he says to himself: I better give a just decision lest she finally come and strike me.
This is almost a comic situation: a strong and unjust judge who fears a widow who might come and beat him up! Luke's Gospel tells us that "Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary."
How often we get weary of praying when God does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to answer them! How slow we are to recognize that God knows better than we what is truly good for us! How difficult it is to remain praying for what we think is right when nothing good seems to happen to us and when we sense that God has abandoned us!
God never abandons any of us but instead is always with us, seeking to form us as wonderful and loving human beings who have the strength to do what is right and good. To form anyone requires that we learn how to persevere, how to keep going in the midst of any difficulties, how to accept that if we persevere and keep trying, eventually we see the hand of God present and his loving presence beside us.
My sisters and brothers, let us not be spoiled children who only want our own desires! Let us grow into women and men who are strong and seek only what God wants and who are willing to suffer for the love of God and the love of others.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 17.8-13
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3.14 - 4.2
Gospel: Luke 18.1-8
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: