12Nov 12 Nov, Saturday of Week 32

Wis 18:14ff. In the peaceful stillness of the night God’s all-powerful word came down from Heaven, to lead his people to freedom and life.

Lk 18:1ff. God will act in response to persistent prayer. He will provide swift justice. But will he find any faith on the earth?

Ready for His Return

Most of us will occasionally go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41). Today’s texts ask for fidelity over the long haul, not necessarily for the single heroic act but rather the heroism of staying with the daily routine of family or work, of community or apostolate. What we are expected to do seems very ordinary, but it takes God’s extraordinary grace to keep at it.

We may seem to be getting nowhere and yet we are accomplishing much, by simply keeping the family intact or the business still functioning or the parish a place of prayer and goodwill. The gospel addresses this paradox of getting nowhere and accomplishing very much, as exemplified in the widow who kept coming to the judge, demanding her rights. Finally the judge found that this widow was wearing him out, and so settled matters in her favour. Monica, the mother of St Augustine, is another patroness of persistent people. We can accomplish very much by our daily routine.

This final verse in the gospel is probably a later addition to the original parable about the widow. No other parable in the gospels ends on a question-mark. The editor added this “floating” remark of Jesus that could fit into many different occasions, to voice our own question. When he comes, will he find faith on the earth? Originally it probably referred to the long trial of the Roman persecution but it speaks to any number of situations.

When the Son of Man comes, like the all-powerful word in today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom, he will appear suddenly and act dramatically and definitively. The all-powerful word will leap down as of old, and lead his people out of bondage, through every barrier and difficulty, even the mighty Red Sea. Perhaps we hear ourselves repeating Jesus’ question: When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on the earth?

One of the most effective ways to be ready when the Son of Man returns is to further the apostolate of the word, each of us in our own way. Then when the all-powerful word bounds from his heavenly throne, we will find ourselves ready and waiting to greet him.

First Reading: Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9

For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

For the whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew, complying with your commands, so that your children might be kept unharmed. The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp, and dry land emerging where water had stood before, an unhindered way out of the Red Sea, and a grassy plain out of the raging waves, where those protected by your hand passed through as one nation, after gazing on marvellous wonders. For they ranged like horses, and leaped like lambs, praising you, O Lord, who delivered them.

Gospel: Luke 18:1-8

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.'”