Illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Luke 18:1-18
Don’t give up! Throughout St. Luke’s Gospel, we find that Jesus spent much time in prayer. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to be persistent and faithful in our prayer.
As an example, Jesus tells his disciples the parable about a widow who went to a judge to ask for a fair decision in court for her legal problem. The judge was not willing to deal with the woman’s problem.
Day after day, the widow kept going back to the judge. She really pestered him. Finally, the judge said to himself, “While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I must deliver a just decision for her. If I don’t help her, she will never give me any peace.”
Then Jesus said, “Now if such a selfish judge can finally listen and do what he is asked to do, how much more will my heavenly father listen to your prayers and give you what you need?”
In this parable, Jesus teaches us about prayer and God’s love. Where the judge was annoyed by the widow badgering him, God delights in our persistent prayer. The judge, totally exasperated, gave in to the widow’s request – but God gladly grants our petitions. Our continual asking helps us to grow closer to God. That is why God longs for us to persevere in prayer. The judge wanted to be free of the widow – but God longs to be one with us.
In this parable, Jesus is telling us God is never too busy to listen to our prayers. When we pray to God for something, he will hear our prayers and answer them, even if the answer is “no.” Sometimes we get anxious or feel disappointed when it seems he doesn’t give us what we want or need, but we shouldn’t give up or stop asking. We must trust that God will always do what is best for us.
Jesus calls us to a closer and long-lasting relationship with God. Prayer is a necessary part of strengthening that relationship. Persevering in prayer is a way to grow in grace: in faith, hope and love. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2742-2745, on the need for perseverance in prayer.
As today’s responsorial psalm says: “Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”