October 20th : Gospel Reflection for this Sunday The 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Please read Br Michael’s reflection for Sunday October 20th – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Don’t give up or give in
Up until recently, one of my brothers ran marathons. He would run one full marathon and an half one each year! He was asked to speak to a group of runners who were preparing to run a marathon for the first time. At question time, he was asked what it took to run a full marathon. His reply was honest and sincere; it takes time, discipline, practise, patience and perseverance. Not bad advice; this could also be a very good description of what it takes to be a follower of Jesus and live a life of prayer.
The gospel this Sunday begins with a very clear statement that is very relevant for us today; ‘Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.’ He tells the story of a woman who goes to a judge seeking justice. She keeps at him, refusing to give up or give in. In the end he gives up and gives her what she is seeking. Jesus says that we when we come to God in prayer, we are to have the same courage, strength and perseverance as the woman. We are not to give up or give in. So perhaps as it is when preparing to run a marathon, a life of prayer also takestime, discipline, practise, patience and perseverance. It won’t happen automatically or by itself. I can talk about prayer, I can read bout prayer and I can even watch others pray, but unless I make a start myself, I will never learn to pray. As the saying goes, practise make perfect!
Let’s be honest, sometimes maintaining a regular prayer life can be difficult, even frustrating. It can feel as if our prayers are not being heard or answered. This can be disheartening. But Jesus encourages us not to give up or to give in; he simply says to us, keep going, hang in there, I am with you and I am listening to you.
What do I when I can’t pray? I try to pray! I pray the prayers I have known since I was a child; The Our Father, The Hail Mary and The Rosary. As St. Pauls says to us in his letter to the Ephesians; ‘Pray at all times, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for God’s people.’ (6.18).
When we sit or kneel to pray, it is worth remembering that it is always God who calls us to pray in the first place. Our decision to pray is our response to that divine and sacred call. Prayer is about our daily relationship God. It nourishes and strengthens our friendship with God. Prayer is not just about us talking to God; it also and perhaps more importantly about us listening to God. In the Old Testament, God calls young Samuel. Eventually, Samuel responds, ‘Speak, Lord, I am listening.’
Today and this coming week, I ask God to give me the same courage, faith, patience and perseverance as the woman in the gospel. May I too approach God with hope and humility. May I pray continually and never lose heart.
-Br Michael Moore OMI
Gospel for Sunday October 20th : Luke 18:1-8 ©
Like the persevering widow calling for justice, we are never to grow discouraged
Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”
And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
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