Today’s readings are mainly about prayer — perseverance in prayer, constancy in prayer and trust in God as we pray. They are also about the Trustworthiness and Justice of God, the type of Justice that reaches out to the poor and the weak, enabling them to fight against injustice.
Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, Moses, after sending Joshua to fight against Amalek, is presented as making tireless intercession with constancy for the victory of Israel’s army. Both Moses and the widow in today’s Gospel story teach us how we should pray with trusting Faith and perseverance. In the second reading, St. Paul instructs Timothy to persevere in his ministry, to proclaim the word of God with persistence in all circumstances, and to use it to “correct, reprove and appeal with patience.”
By introducing the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” Constancy in prayer is Faith in action. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of the trust and tenacity with which his disciples are to pray. The widow was asking for something which God would certainly want for her – justice.
Life messages: 1) We need to combine formal prayers with action prayer: It is ideal that we start our prayers by reading from the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Gospels. Formal, memorized and liturgical prayers are also essential for the Christian prayer life. Personal prayer is of great importance in our life of prayer. Talking to God in our own words — praising Him, thanking Him and presenting our needs before Him — transforms our whole life into prayer. We should perfect our prayers by bringing ourselves into God’s presence during our work several times during the day and by offering to God all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do. Along with formal and memorized prayers, this type of prayer life enables us to pray always and pray with constancy and trusting perseverance.
2) We should not expect to get whatever we pray for. This parable does not suggest that God writes a blank check, guaranteeing whatever we want, whenever we want, it in the form we ask for. But we conveniently forget the fact that, often, a loving father has to refuse the request of a child, because he knows that what the child asks would hurt rather than help him (e.g., a sharp knife). God is like that. He knows what to give, when to give and how to give it. Only God sees time whole, and, therefore, only God knows what is good for us in the long run. That is why Jesus said that we must never be discouraged in prayer. Instead, we have to leave the answer to God’s decision saying, “Thy will be done.” Sincere and persistent prayer makes us ready to accept His will.