Reflections for the Week
Jesus tells his disciples to pray always without becoming weary. They should not be discouraged if God seems not to be listening. Praying constantly is not an exercise in futility but of living faith. God is infinitely better than the wicked judge of the parable who gives in to a persistent widow for his own comfort. God does not consider our fervent prayer as nuisance. God is not bothered when we always ask for favours. In praying, we cannot go wrong. Our persistence springs from faith and confidence in God who always listens to our prayers.
In the First Reading, the Israelites battle a tribe of enemies. Moses raises his staff in prayer to God. When his hands grow weary, Aaron and Hur help keep his hands upraised till victory against the Amelekites is complete.
Christians should pray nonstop. We need other people to support us in our prayers. We pray unceasingly and painstakingly to obtain our petitions and to sanctify the things granted to us. God can make us win over our
enemies who hinder our journey toward heaven.
Nowadays many people do not see the need to pray. They do not know what to pray for. They find no time to pray. Simply they have become too secularised.
365 Days with the Lord Fr Cielito R Almazan OFM
Never Lose Heart
Harry, a successful businessman, had got where he was by being very careful with his money. After years of prosperity the country was suddenly plunged into recession. Harry’s business was badly hit and he was in danger of bankruptcy. He went into church and prayed to God. “Lord,” he prayed, “this is Harry. You know me. I come to Church every Sunday. I try to lead a good life. But now I’ve fallen on hard times. My wife and family are suffering. Lord, please get me out of this. Please let me win the lottery.” Saturday came. There was no lottery win for Harry. A second time he went to Church. “Lord,” he prayed, “I can’t impress upon you enough the urgency of my situation. Please, Lord, let me win the lottery.” Saturday came: still nothing. A third time Harry went to Church. “Lord, I’m desperate. Please, please, let me win the lottery.” At that moment a voice came from heaven. “Harry, can’t you meet me half way? Can’t you at least buy a lottery ticket!”
We’re inclined to be a bit sniffy about the kind of prayer Harry prayed. We think it’s unworthy, or at least in bad taste, to pray so blatantly for something for yourself. We think we should be praying for worthy things, or better still, we shouldn’t be asking for things at all. Instead our prayer should consist of praise and thanksgiving. But that’s not how Jesus talks about prayer. Whenever Jesus talks about prayer in the Gospels it is nearly always to urge his followers to ask for things from their heavenly Father. The parable in today’s gospel is a good example. Jesus urges his friends to be persistent in asking God for what they need and what they want. Harry had something in common with the widow in today’s Gospel. Firstly, he was persistent and, secondly, he asked for what he really wanted. True, he failed to play his part in the transaction, but two out of three isn’t bad!
The widow in the parable is being held up as a model of the disciple in prayer. The message is: keep on praying. Be persistent. But the unjust judge does not stand for God. Jesus is not saying that God is reluctant to answer prayer. He is contrasting God with the unjust judge. God’s desire to help is being contrasted with the unjust judge’s reluctance to help. When we persist in our prayer we are expressing our faith in God’s willingness and desire to help us; we are affirming our belief in God’s goodness, we are acknowledging our dependence on God for everything we have and everything we are.
Jesus is very realistic about prayer. He understands that we often reach out in prayer to God when we are desperate. When someone we love is seriously ill we bombard heaven with our prayers, and we ask others to pray for them; the more prayers the better. At that moment we have no doubt about what we want, and we have no
difficulty in asking God for it. That kind of prayer in which we pester God, and go on pestering him, is just the kind of prayer that Jesus urges his followers to pray. It’s not an inferior kind of prayer. It's not a selfish prayer. It is the foundation of all prayer. And let’s be clear what we’re praying for: we’re praying for the person we love to get better. We’re appealing to God precisely for that. We shouldn’t try to make our prayer ‘respectable’ by praying “that the doctors and nurses will be inspired to do their job properly.” Of course, we can pray for that as well. But we are first and foremost praying that our loved one will be restored to health. Questions about how God answers prayer have no place in times like this. There are theological questions about prayer and how God answers prayer. But they have nothing to do with the business of actually praying. When we kneel down to say our prayers we do so in a simple and straightforward way, taking Jesus at his word: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and door will be opened to you.” Like the widow in the parable, like Harry the businessman, we know what we want and we simply go on asking God for it.
The Living Word Redemptorist Publications
Pope Francis on Mission Sunday
The Church is on mission in the world. Faith in Jesus Christ enables us to see all things in their proper perspective, as we view the world with God’s own eyes and heart. Hope opens us up to the eternal horizons of the divine life that we share. Charity, of which we have a foretaste in the Sacraments and in fraternal love, impels us to go forth to the ends of the earth (cf. Mic 5:4; Mt 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:18). A Church that presses forward to the farthest frontiers requires a constant and ongoing missionary conversion. How many saints, how many men and women of faith, witness to the fact that this unlimited openness, this going forth in mercy, is indeed possible and realistic, for it is driven by love and its deepest meaning as gift, sacrifice and gratuitousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-21)! The man who preaches God must be a man of God (cf. Maximum Illud).
Fr Bill's Thoughts