29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C October 17th , 2010

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Dear Friends :

It is important that we do not listen to the parable in today’s Gospel and then think of God as a cranky old judge who can be moved only by being pestered. Parables have just one point and when we interpret them we always have to be very careful.

In today’s parable the central issue is the attitude of the widow, not the judge who was corrupt and respected neither God or his fellow humans. The point to be understood is that prayer and perseverance in prayer are for our sake, not for the sake of God.

Perseverance allows us to marshal enough power and to gather enough inner resources in order to win the victory in the battle against all that would diminish us as men and women.

That is the point of the first reading from the Book of Exodus and second reading from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy. Moses stands as the pre figurement of Jesus. There he is up on the hill, with his arms outstretched, supported by two men, one on his right and the other on his left. Aaron, like the good thief at Christ’s side, is destined to help Moses. He, like the other man crucified at Christ’s side, is likewise destined to work with the Lord.

For it is the effort of Moses that allows his people to gather strength and to marshal their resources against the evil that is assaulting them, and it is the continued and persevering effort, without any copping-out, that allows us to take hold of the willingness of God and His power in order to put it to use in our lives.

The same is true with the widow in her continual pleas for justice. The same ought to be true for you and me.

Transformation only comes slowly in our lives. We all know that our attitudes and our mental and psychic orientations cannot change over night. We change, only after a very thorough process. This is why God wants us to pray and to pray continually in all that we do. Prayer is for our sake, not for God’s. Prayer allows us to take some time, time with the Lord, to focus our vision, to catch our breath, to pause and reflect on where we are going and what we are doing. Prayer allows us to examine our objectives, our goals, and those areas in our life where we need to exert our prime effort and energy. God will not transform our world for us. God is not a great big magic Genie who responds to our every little beck and call. But God will transform our world with us. His interventions into our life occur only through us, and with us, and in us. It all depends on how thorough we are in yielding to His Holy Spirit, in surrendering to His presence, and in taking a hold of and claiming His power. But that takes real sustained and persevering effort. Also it is we who must set forces in motion in our lives, not God. It is we who must do the work — always with God — and never simply waiting for Him to do the work for us.