29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” The widow in today’s parable didn’t give up. She kept “bothering” the judge by coming to him and asking for a decision in her favor. Ultimately, her persistence caught his attention and influenced his behavior. Jesus seems to be teaching us today that this quality of faithful persistence is a good one to have. Thus, he advises us to call out to God not once, not twice, but “day and night.” This is a fitting image for the idea of continual prayer; it goes on all the time without ceasing.
As this Gospel reading says in the opening line, Jesus wanted to teach his disciples how to “pray always without becoming weary.” It’s interesting that the method he used for this instruction was to emphasize the reward of such persistent prayer. The parable’s conclusion assures us that for those who pray without giving up, God “will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” Perhaps this attractive promise is supposed to keep us from losing hope, from throwing in the towel, from becoming “weary” when our requests don’t seem to be getting heard.
Following the example of this determined widow, we need not fear to repeatedly make our requests known to God. In fact, we should make a point of it! If we only offer our prayers of petition halfheartedly, without real conviction, persistence, or sincerity, they are not as powerful as they could be. But when we truly commit to taking these requests before the Lord, day after day (and night after night!) then we are displaying a kind of profound faith in God’s ability to act on our behalf. So, full of hope and trust, let’s keep “bothering” this truly just Judge!