Saturday, October 20, 2007

Afraid of Getting a Black Eye

(29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C)

Before anything else, we should note first that the parable Luke gives us today is rather humorous. Here’s this tough guy of a judge, who has no respect for anyone, even God, and this widow gets the better of him. She bothers and embarrasses him so much that he’s afraid she’s going to come give him a black eye. That’s the literal meaning of the phrase, “lest she finally come and strike me!” Can you imagine the dishonor this man feels at the prospect of being beat up by a little old lady?

But that’s the issue: honor. In the ancient world, widows were very vulnerable. That’s why, along with orphans, the prophets of the Scriptures always remind the people of God of their need to take care of them. This judge wasn’t living up to this obligation. But the widow shames him into giving her justice anyway.

So, if the persistence of this widow gets her a just decision even from this bad judge, how much more will our prayers help us to receive the justice of the one true Judge who is Justice itself, and whose honor is the joy and peace of his creation?

God’s desire is for justice and peace in our hearts, in our families, and in our world. By our persistent and faithful prayer, he will help us to accept the peace and joy he wants to give to the world. This is the point of the parable, as we heard at the beginning of the Gospel: the “necessity” to pray always, “without becoming weary.”

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