Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

29th Sunday C

IN THE BUSY world that we live in, prayer seems to be the last among the priorities. In fact, more and more people no longer pray to God on a regular basis. But, there remains some people who feel guilty when they forget to pray to God. The fact that they feel the guilt, we may say that prayer remains a value for them, and a responsibility that one has to accomplish.
 
The gospel this Sunday is about the parable of the persistent widow. Through it, Jesus invites his disciples and also us to pray always without becoming weary. In this parable, the widow is being described as persistent in her search for justice. Her persistence pays off because in the end the judge was able to deliver a just decision for her. This gospel passage illustrates some qualities of prayer; they are qualities that we should develop. 
 
First, prayer must be characterized by persistence and perseverance. This may not appear relevant because we are accustomed to having instant results in everything that we do. For instance, Internet gives us the convenience because of the instantaneity of communication. The information that we need is just there on your fingertips, they say. It is quick and instant. And we want other things to be also quick and instant. As a result, we hate heavy traffic because it eats so much of our time. In fact, the economists say that heavy traffic would mean losses of profits. Also, we hate delayed flights. This is inconvenient especially if we have business to do. But this is the truth, despite we want things to appear as quickly as possible, there are circumstances and situations which are beyond our control. The heavy traffic and the delayed flights should have taught us some values. Among them are patience, persistence, and perseverance. We can use them in prayer. These are our proper attitudes or values when we pray. Things that we ask from God are beyond our control, so we must be persistent in prayer. That is why Christ urges us to pray without becoming weary.
 
Secondly, prayer is characterized by regularity. It is wrong to say that we only pray when we need something from God. That is unfair to God, because, in that sense, we are simply using him. Prayer is about relationship. Like in human relationships, the more we spend time for each other, the more we know and love each other. Praying is also about communication. Like in human communications, the more frequent we communicate, the closer we become to each other. Thus, the persistence of the widow can be understood in the context of the regularity in “bothering the judge”. But when we pray to God, we are not actually bothering him. In contrast, the regularity in praying enriches our relationship and communication with God. The more we come to see God, the more we come to know him. The more we communicate to him, the more we can listen to him. That is the beauty of prayer!
 
Thirdly, our prayer must be characterized by faith. Faith on this regard is understood as one of confidence and trust. We should put confidence and trust in God who is the giver of good gifts. The question to be asked when we pray is this: how much trust do I place in God when I come for prayer. The problem with some “pray-ers” is that they appear to be controlling the flow of the prayer, they appear to control God. So, frustration is a knee-jerk reaction to the seeming delay of the response of God to our prayers. But we need to change that. In prayer, we actually surrender ourselves before God. While we desire instant results, we have to realize that God seems to be slow in responding to our needs. But this should not be a reason to be disappointed. In the final analysis, God knows what our needs are. But often we are placed on a test. Our faith, as well as confidence in him, is being tried and tested on the process. But like Abraham, we simply put our trust in him. The question of Jesus towards the end of the passage is worth reflecting: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
 

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