for Sunday, October 21, 2007
Scripture scholars suggest that we might see the widow as the hero of the story, and as an image of God. Now there's a twist! Could Jesus have intended us to focus on a character who is defenseless in her society, seemingly helpless, as the one who fights for justice until she wins? If we put her in the context of Christ's own triumph over suffering and death, it makes a lot of sense. Christ was powerless before those who led him to the cross, but won victory in that
seeming defeat. We may seem powerless before all that is unjust in our world. We may even pray - a lot - for those on the side of good to triumph over evil. And since the answers to our prayers often seem slow in coming, we may get discouraged and lose heart.
But Jesus' parable today encourages not to. We're to keep praying - and working - for peace and justice. God is with us in the struggle. Our divine Lord teaches us, in this parable, the need for perseverance in prayer. This perseverance develops our trust and confidence in God. It helps us to become humble and to realize how weak we are when left to ourselves. It keeps us close to God, as we learn how dependent we are on his generosity. If we only would realize that God is perhaps never closer to us than when we think he is forgetting us! The trials of life, spiritual or temporal, which he allows us to suffer, are not obstacles to our spiritual progress but rather step-ping-stones without which we could not cross the rivers of life.
"Ask and you shall receive," not perhaps what you wanted, but what God knew you needed. "Seek and you shall find," not the easy way, which you thought you, deserved, but the harder way which would make you more deserving of heaven. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you," not the door you were standing at, which would have delayed or endangered your progress, but the door further down the street where refreshment and new courage to continue on your upward climb were awaiting you.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: