12 November 2011

12 Nov 2011, Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr

Reading 1 Wis 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!
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. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
R. Alleluia.
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. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
R. Alleluia.
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. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Lk 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?"

Meditation: Luke 18:1-8
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“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7)

We all remember this plucky widow for her persistence in dealing with an unjust judge. But there is another angle to this parable that we should pay attention to.

To get a look at this other angle, we first have to look at what Jesus had been saying right before he told this parable. In Luke 17:20-37, he tells his disciples three things: He predicts his death and resurrection; he tells them that he will come back at the end of time; and he warns that some people will not be ready for his glorious return. Only then, in the context of his words about his return, does he tell this parable.

This emphasis on the Second Coming helps us understand the last line of the parable: “When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). It also gives us a new way of looking at the “justice” that this widow sought from the judge. It helps us to see that the true justice comes not from a widow’s persistence but from Jesus’ own death on the cross. Because Jesus suffered “greatly” (17:25), he secured our redemption. We are now justified by his grace, not by our efforts.

So why should we persist in prayer? Why bother, if Jesus has done all the work? Because the end has not yet come. We still live in a world of injustice, temptation, and sin. Our persistence in prayer is our way of fighting the good fight of faith. It’s how we can put ourselves in the presence of God every day, ready to receive all the grace he wants to give us.

Brothers and sisters, the way of persistence is the way of faith! The way of persistence is the way of justice! As we push on in prayer, we will become more and more confident in God’s goodness and his salvation. We will see his justice more and more clearly in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. And we will be ready for Jesus when he comes again in glory.

“Jesus, give me strength to pray even when I’m tired, weak, or distracted. Let nothing stand between us, Lord!”

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