Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: Pray always
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Sunday October 20 2019
(Lk. 18:1-8) Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, Jesus told His disciples to pray always and never grow weary. Then He told them the parable of the wicked judge and the persistent widow. The judge was introduced as one who does not fear God and owes no respect to any man. But the widow was persistent in getting from him a just decision. Finally, the judge gave in because of her persistence and fear that the widow, in her desperation, would strike him. Thus, the lesson given is that we should pray with perseverance because God answers such prayers without fail.
The lesson must be nuanced. While we really need to pray, we must not grow weary. If a bad judge would give in to a persistent widow, how much more is God who does not need our persistence?It is not because of our persistence that God answers our prayer but it is because God always answer the prayers of those who have deep faith and prays without ceasing.
Are we not guilty at times of giving up in prayer and faith because we get no answers? We want our prayers to be answered in time and the way we want them. As a result, we abandon our prayer, and worse, our faith. God does not ask us to pray every minute of our lives. He wants us to always communicate with Him in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES of our lives. God must always be part of our lives. Thus, whether we are in consolation or desolation, joy or sadness, full of grace or arid, comfortable or suffering, healthy or sick, rich or poor, etc., we continue to pray. In all of those circumstances, God answers.
Is it not a waste of time to pray? Are we not losing time which must be better used in finding opportunities? There is a time to pray and a time to work. We should not see time spent in prayer as wasted time. There are times when we have to stop and stand (or kneel) before God. There are times when we just have to be still and silent before God. There are times when we have to lose ourselves so that we can find God. It is an emptying which allows God to fill us. It is manifested by our increase awareness of God’s presence in our lives. When we do, we have entered into deeper and more unified relation with God.
Finally, we must abandon that idea that we need to supply God with attention, good works, and praises in order for Him to act favourably to us. The widow, in her need for justice, did not dare bribe the judge. She just asked for a just decision. She was asking for what is due to her. The same with our relationship with God. We do not need and should not relate to Him as if we are bribing Him with our good acts.Our relationship with God is not a quid pro quo set up. God is good and generous, period. For the persistent believers, He always answer their prayers. Thus, we must pray without ceasing.
(Note: Talk about persistence? The first reading tells the story of Israel led by Joshua defending against the attack of Amalek. Moses told Joshua that he will be standing on a hill with the staff of God in his hand. As long as Moses raises his hand with the staff, Israel will be winning. There came a time when Moses grew weary. Thus, Aaron and Hur gave Moses a rock to sit on and each took a hand of Moses and helped steady them throughout the battle which lasted till sunset!)