|Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C |
October 20, 2013
This Sunday's Readings
Joshua and the Israelites defeat Amalek with the help of God and his servant, Moses.
The Lord is the Guardian of Israel.
2 Timothy 3:14—4:2
Paul exhorts Timothy to continue to preach the word Timothy received from his teachers.
Jesus urges his disciples to pray and not lose heart, for God hears and answers prayers.
Background on the Gospel Reading
This is the first of two parables that Jesus tells in Luke 18 about prayer. (The second will be read at Mass next Sunday.) This first parable is a lesson in persistence in prayer. (Next Sunday's parable will address attitude in prayer.) While the parable seems to present prayer as nagging God for what we want, such a reading misses the point. God is not like the judge in the parable, worn down by requests and coerced to respond. The key is found in the description of the judge as corrupt and unjust. Since God can be neither, we must understand Jesus to be saying that if even an unjust judge responds to the persistence of the widow, how much more so will God listen to our prayers. God truly wants to hear our needs and respond generously. It is the final lament of Jesus that gets to the point of the parable. The lesson is about the persistence of the one who prays. God wants us to be like the persistent widow, staying in relationship with God, confident that God hears and answers prayers. Then Jesus laments, “Will such faith be found when the Son of Man comes?” In this lament, Jesus notes how easy it can be for us to lose heart.