17 November. Saturday of Week Thirty Two
3 Jn 5ff. Providing hospitality for traveling missionaries.
Lk 18:1ff. God will act in response to persistent prayer.
Faithful and persistent
In a crisis, most of us will go the extra mile (Mt 5:41) – sometimes – but today’s Gospel asks for fidelity over the long haul, not the single heroic act but the heroism of staying with the daily routine of duty. What we are expected to do is ordinary, but it takes God’s extraordinary grace to keep at it.
The gospel addresses this paradox of seemingly getting nowhere and yet accomplishing very much, exemplified in the widow who kept coming to the judge, demanding her rights. Finally she wore him out, and so the judge settled matters in her favour. Monica, the mother of St Augustine, is patroness of persistent people. We can accomplish very much by a faithful, 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, which could fit many situations, to voice his 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 also speaks to the state of our Church, in 2012. What are we, what am I, doing to promote faith, in this Year of Faith?
First Reading: 3 John 5-8
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth.
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.’“