29th Sunday Reflection (Year C)
THE PARABLE OF THE PERSISTENT WIDOW AND THE UNJUST JUDGE
The Importance Of Persevering Prayer.
AV Summary and text.
“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart (Lk 18:1).”
Today’s Sunday readings remind us of the necessity of persevering in prayer and its efficacy.
- In the 1st reading, we see Moses pray unceasingly for the Israelites who were attacked by Amalek. He raised his hands, the graphic gesture and posture of prayer −which is used as well in the Holy Mass everytime the priest invites the people to pray−, while the battle waged between the Israelites and Amalek’s men.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight. Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset. And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
- In the Gospel, Jesus told the Apostles the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge who finally gave way to the widow’s pleas for her perseverance, if not for her importunity. With this parable, Jesus does not only illustrate the necessity of praying without ceasing and with faith but also commands us to do so.
- As Evagrius wrote: “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.” (Evagrius, Capita practica ad Anatolium 49). For this, it is necessary to overcome our laziness, and to elevate our heart to God in all circumstances.
- It is always possible to pray: It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking (St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585.)
Dear brethren in Christ, prayer is a vital necessity: we cannot live our Christian faith and life well without it.
Without prayer -a filial and friendly conversation with God- spiritual progress, holiness, love for God and other, and coherent Christian life would not possible.
- Nor would it be possible to know what God wants from us.
- Nor would we obtain the graces we need in order to do His Will, reject temptations and sin…for prayer is one of the sources of divine grace.
- Nor would one be able to know Jesus, follow Him and identify ourselves with Him.
Prayer is an exercise of faith. It is hope in action. It is a demonstration as well of love.
- He who considers prayer superfluous and useless evidently lacks faith in God and sees no need to be helped. Prayer, on the contrary, is a humble manifestation of man’s faith in God and in His Omnipotence –“Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Resp. psalm)” − for it supposes considering oneself indigent and incapable without God’s help.
- He who does not pray, does not hope, and has nothing to hope for because he considers his desires unreachable and impossible to obtain. Prayer, on the other hand, is hope in action where one puts his trust in God and abandons himself to His Will. Even if God delays in his response to what one asks, one should not worry.
Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.
(Evagrius Ponticus, De oratione 34: PG 79, 1173)
God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able
to receive what he is prepared to give.
(St. Augustine, Ep. 130, 8, 17: PL 33, 500.)
- He who does not pray, does not love. For prayer is nothing but being and conversing with someone whom we love and who loves us (St. Teresa of Avila).
Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…
For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin
(St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666.)
Let us ask God for the grace to be prayerful men and women! Children who constantly know how to adore God, thank Him, ask Him not only for ourselves but for others as well, ask pardon from Him.
Mother Mary, Teacher of Prayer, help us pray be constant, persevering and genreous in our prayer!
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS
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A Blessed weekend to all, God bless you and your loved ones!
AUDIO CREDIT AND SOURCE: “Pater Noster” (John Pamintuan) sung by the Philippine Madrigal Singers at the European Grand Prix, Arezzo, Italy (which they won) on August 26, 2007, video recorded and uploaded by sheikyurbutti in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkO887qpKvk. Track used in this video with permission from Mark Anthony Carpio, the choirmaster. Thanks a lot, Mark! And more power to all of the Philippine Madrigal Singers!
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: pinterest.com, http://ids.lib.harvard.edu/ids/view/17386742?width=3000&height=3000,