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Luke 18:1-8

The Word of God

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Luke 18:1-8
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    • ‘Ask and you shall receive’? I reflect on my life and what has been my experience of asking God for what I want and what I need.
    • For my part, how aware am I of God always being predisposed to loving and caring for me? I pray that this attitude of being loved and cared for is always present in my heart when I ask for what I want or need.
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    • In Jesus’ time, a widow had no support unless she had adult sons to help her. Here the widow goes directly to the judge. The judge, and unpleasant character, ignores her for a long time but she persists in her pursuit for justice and he finally gives in. The parable is an invitation to us to persist in prayer especially in times of difficulties. We however, approach a loving Father, ready to listen to us and we are invited to come with calm assurance. Jesus tells us not to give up or lose heart.
    • I think about the difficulties I might be facing at this time. Have I lost hope that God will hear me? Can I bring them to God now, knowing that he is attentive to what I have to share? Do I feel I can trust him?
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    • Jesus is not comparing God to an unjust judge. The parable should be read in the context of an earlier comment by Jesus: ‘If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Lk 11:13). So, if even the most unjust of judges will finally concede to the ceaseless petitions of a defenceless widow, then how much more will God answer our prayers!
    • The parable offers hope to those among us who are perhaps reluctant to address God with our petitions. It is both an invitation and encouragement to pray without ceasing, confident of God's desire to respond.
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    • Jesus tells us we ‘need to pray continually and never lose heart’. The simple parable has a clear message: Jesus is not comparing God to an unjust judge, but saying that if perseverance obtains justice from an unjust judge, how much more from a good and loving father?
    • The need never to lose heart: this is certainly one of the bigger challenges for our faith. Persevering in prayer teaches me that God does not need to be informed of my needs. It is rather I who will notice I am learning to trust God more, as I become more open to whatever he asks of me and my loved ones, for he wants nothing but what is good for me. I thank God for his loving care, and ask for the gift of persevering prayer.
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    • Jesus gently reminds us of the need to pray and not lose heart. He knows we need to hear these words from time to time as we ask ourselves whether prayer does make a difference at all. I ask for the grace to hear Jesus encouraging me in my efforts to pray always, helping me not to lose heart.
    • The judge finally acts and delivers justice not because he cares about the woman but because he selfishly understands that this is the only way to get rid of her. God is totally different, full of mercy and compassion. I know that prayers are answered, even if not always the way I had imagined. I recall God’s faithfulness in my own life, and thank him for it.
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    • Jesus is confident in God’s vindication of those in need; I join him in praying for the resolution of unjust situations and consider how my efforts might be of help.
    • The persistence of my prayer speaks of the depth of my need. Even if I find that my prayer always has something for which I always ask, I take time to see how God may already be offering me some answer.
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    • This story reminds us that for many people who have been wronged, great persistence is needed to try and ensure one’s rights.
    • From this story about the widow, Jesus tells us not be to see God in the same light as that of the judge. Although, God may not answer your prayers exactly and as quickly as you would like, he tells us to persevere in our requests.
    • Our prayers then become an exercise in pure faith. But our prayer is a conversation with a very close friend who knows best what we need and frequently answers us in a surprising way.
    • From our continual prayer our special friendship with Jesus develops into the best gift we could ever have - friendship with him.
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    • Do I find it easy to persist in praying for what I need? I might be surprised to discover that prolonged prayer opens my heart even more to God's provident care in my life, so that I find myself growing in trust.
    • 'Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?' I join those crying for justice, bringing to my prayer some situation of deep seated conflict or injustice I know well.
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    • In telling this parable Jesus recognises our need for encouragement in prayer, especially in coping with disappointment. The interaction between the judge and the widow is vivid, psychologically believable, and there is an underlying humour. If even a despicable human being like the judge can be badgered into acting justly, how much more readily will the all-loving, ever-generous God respond to our needs when we present them to him?
    • The concluding verse is indicating that persistence in prayer is impossible without faith.
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    • Lord, you puzzle me. I hear you telling me to persist in prayer, to entreat God until he is weary of me. You say he will quickly grant justice. But then I think of good people suffering famine, Aids, loss of children, sickness and death though they pray to God. I think of the Jews in Auschwitz, still singing the psalms as they walked into the gas chambers. Surely there are times when you delay in helping us? At times like this I turn to the memory of your Passion, and your agonised prayer in the Garden. You have faced a dark and apparently empty heaven, yet stayed faithful. Keep me with you.
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    • Our persistence in prayer does not change God’s mind. Instead it prepares our own heart by strengthening our desire for God!
    • Jesus wishes us to pray always and not lose heart. Help me to be constant, Lord. Renew my failing confidence when your answer is “Wait.... wait... wait a little longer.”
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    • The model for our prayer has to be the widow in Jesus’ parable. Her persistence does not falter. In prayer I can present my true self to God. God knows the real me anyway, and is a God of justice. Do I really believe this? Do I pray and work for justice in the situations around me?
    • Lord, you are my refuge. Strengthen my persistence when I lose heart. Grant me the wisdom to know that when I come to you in trust and confidence you will respond.
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    • We can be so impatient sometimes and feel that God has not heard our prayers when they are not answered immediately. We live in a world of instant gratification, instant coffee, instant contact, a touch of a button on our computer and we can be anywhere in the world! But Jesus in today’s gospel is asking us to be patient, ‘pray always and do not lose heart’ Our prayers will be answered, maybe not in the way we are expecting, but answered in the way that is beneficial to us.
    • Jesus, teach us to trust you and not lose heart when we call on you in prayer. The prayer of intercession will never go unanswered, but our ways are not your ways and our thoughts not your thoughts. Keep us faithful in prayer Lord, for you will never be outdone in generosity.
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    • Saint Luke shows that Jesus prayed consistently during his public life and his Passion. I am Jesus’ disciple, and he needs me to be a person of prayer also. Prayer is like a magnet that keeps us close to God. If I let the magnet go, I drift away from God.
    • I pray: ‘Jesus, when you search my heart, do you find any faith inside it? Stretch my small heart so that I may take the risk of entrusting myself more to you.’
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    • Thank you, Lord, that, unlike that desperate widow, I live in a regime where judges cannot be bought, and where injustices can be aired in the media. In some ways we have made society a better place. But I need your words about perseverance in prayer. There have been times when I belaboured God and nearly lost heart at the silence of heaven. Teach me to recognise you in your silence as well as your words.