Pray Always And Never Lose Heart – Prayer Is The Key
Their salvation through the Red Sea and their journey through the desert were like a new creation for the Hebrew people. God protected them and led them to freedom. This reminds us how our passing through the saving waters of baptism has recreated us as the People of God.
Luke must have had in mind those who pray and think that God does not act when they beg him. There is also an eschatological tone in the words of Jesus, that the delay in the coming of the kingdom should not discourage us. In any case, our prayer should be trustful and insistent.
1 Reading: Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9
When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land, bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth. For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew, serving its natural laws, that your children might be preserved unharmed. The cloud overshadowed their camp; and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging: Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road, and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood. Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand, after they beheld stupendous wonders. For they ranged about like horses, and bounded about like lambs, praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 105:2-3, 36-37, 42-43
R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done! or: R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! R.
Then he struck every first born throughout their land,
the first fruits of all their manhood.
And he led them forth laden with silver and gold,
with not a weakling among their tribes. R.
For he remembered his holy word
to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
with shouts of joy, his chosen ones. R.
Alleluia: cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel,
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'” The Lord said, “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. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Wisdom was evident in the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Today’s reading speaks of it in highly poetic terms. Deliverance was accomplished by God’s word, which served as the conduit of his will.
It brought death to the Egyptians. Creation itself was made responsive to the needs of die fleeing Israelites; the Red Sea became a road to freedom. The now empowered people saw the hand of God and praised him for their deliverance.
The Gospel today encourages ceaseless prayer to God. The judge in the parable fears neither God nor man. He is repeatedly asked to render a judgment favourable to a persistent widow. He is not termed a just judge, and he grants her request only because she importunes him. Will not God, who is a just judge, act in favour of his chosen ones even more readily? Therefore, we are to continue in prayer. But the story ends on a questioning note. Will there still be faith on the earth when the Son of Man appears?
In the face of all that God has done on our behalf, we would like to believe that faith will perdure. Luke addresses the question because of a growing uncertainty in the community resulting from the delay in the Lord’s return. The truth is, however, that faith does not always retain its sharp edge. Despite all the wonders that Israel experienced, their betrayal of God brought havoc upon them through the centuries. Persistent prayer is a sign of faith. We pray that we shall persevere and not grow weary.
We should keep in mind that prayer is not just asking for favours for each of us personally but, aside from praise and thanks to God, an intercession for the good of others, of the community. The more reason why it should be insistent! May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!