Memorial of Saint Josaphat (Reading from Saturday of the 32nd week in ordinary time) – Lk 18, 1-8 – November 12th, 2022
Today the Church presents with us the words of Our Lord about the importance of faith, the importance, as St. Luke tells us directly, “to pray always without becoming weary.” In the Gospel, Christ uses a parable to explain that we must have a persevering faith, but many times we don’t pay attention to the very specific motive he gives for it.
We have to see three things: first, the historical context of the parable, second, the reason why Jesus says that we should always pray without being discouraged, and, third, suggestions to put into practice what the Lord says.
First, we have to understand the historical context of the parable, because those who heard Jesus already had the context, and we don’t. First, the unjust judge was not Jewish. That is certain, because, according to the law of Moses, all normal, everyday matters were not resolved in a court with judges, but in front of an old man respected by the community and who was responsible for resolving those cases. Then, the matter was something rather than civil law, perhaps something against one who wasn’t Jewish, and in that case the court always had three judges: one appointed by the plaintiff, another by the accused, and the last by power civil, that is, or by Herod or by the Romans. These judges were known for their injustice, since they always asked for money, that is, a bribe, to do justice. A poor man could not pay; then, despite the justice of his cause, he could never receive what he asked for.
Then, the widow, who represents all the poor and the powerless, began to annoy the judge with great insistence and finally yielded what the widow requested. The word the judge uses to describe what the widow does literally means “to give someone a black eye.” The phrase is strong, and so the judge clearly understands the strength of the widow’s insistence so much so that she finally got what she was looking for. That would have been almost a miracle, for the reasons already mentioned.
Now, Jesus takes the parable and applies it to us, saying: “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.” For whom will God do justice? For His chosen ones, that is, for us. And, although it may sound like a strange question, why are we chosen? Well, because God has chosen us, He has chosen us, and the word in Greek always implies a very personal choice on the part of Him who chooses. God has chosen us to be His beloved children, and that is why we must have faith in Him. He is our heavenly father. There is the key and the reason for our trust.
So, in the practical realm, there are two things we have to do. The first is quite obvious, because Luke says so: we have to always pray without being discouraged. As the prophet Isaiah said (62, 6-7): “You who are to remind the LORD, take no rest, and give him no rest, until he re-establishes Jerusalem.” We must pray, and keep praying. “The Lord does not delay his promise,” as St. Peter says (2 Pt 3:6) “as some regard delay.” We must trust. But, that is impossible if we do not trust that God is our father who has loved us with a special love. That is the greatest obstacle in today’s spiritual life, be it the life of a priest, a nun, or a layman. We do not understand what it means to be a father, neither on the natural plane, nor on the divine plane.
That is why we must always pray and not get tired. We have a Father in heaven who loves us so much that He sent us His own Son to die for us. Let us ask Mary Most Holy, Model of Prayer and Our Mother, to obtain the grace to always pray, despite the difficulties, and the grace to trust and love God as a father.