Charles L. Allen once said, “When you say a situation or person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.” I do not exactly the context when and why he said it but considering the message in itself in the light of the gospel we can somehow conclude that he was indeed correct when he said it. Why? Because there is no such thing as hopeless situation only people who have grown hopeless about their situation. And more importantly, with God nothing is hopeless. No one is hopeless. To the one who believes nothing is impossible. To the one who persistently prays nothing is impossible.
The gospel parable that we just heard is commonly known as the “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.” As the title suggests, the main theme of the Gospel is PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER.
There are people who have stopped praying because they claimed their prayers were not answered by God or they can no longer stand the delay. The way this group of peoply pray is this: “Lord, I pray for this. And I want it here and now.” Fundamental question about prayer such as “Until when should I pray?” always pops up like adwares, starwares and trojan viruses in the internet even among the devout believers? Today we are happy to know that the theme of today’s gospel parable gives us an explicit and direct answer to the question.
Considering the gospel as a whole it gives us several points:
First, the duty to pray, to pray constantly, to pray with confidence and persistence. As Jesus assures us: “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts (see CCC 2613).
Second, the answer to the prayer, persisted in, is certain. “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mk 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23; cf. Mt 21:22). This is best articulated to us by Bruce R. McConkie when he wrote:
“If an unjust earthly judge will finally dispense justice because of the repeated importunities of the widow, how much more shall the God of all the earth, who is the embodiment of perfect justice and impartiality, grant the just petitions of his faithful saints.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 542.)
Third, God is always on the side of the poor, needy, exploited, and oppressed. When we are suffereing and when we are in need, exploited, and oppressed the more reasons for us to pray with confidence and persistence because the Lord is always our side. If the evil judge grants justice to the widow, however reluctantly, how much more will a loving God vindicate God’s people in times of need and crisis.
Fourth, prayer is rooted and flows from faith. When we are no longer praying constantly, confidently and persistenly it’s a sign, an indication that our faith is already wavering. This is the reason why Lord warns for the failure of faith when he comes again as judge both of the living and the dead. See to it, therefore, that you still believe and pray with persistence even in a seemingly hopeless situation, even in times of desperation, even in moments when God seems to be sleeping, far and busy with other concerns.
If you belong to those group of people who stopped praying because they claimed their prayers were not answered by God or they can no longer wait pause and think about this:
God always says yes to our prayers. The yes of God however is not the yes we want it to be. If he does not give us our request, it is because he gives something better.
Yes God always reply to all our prayers. His reply may be as follows:
3. I have something better for you.
When you pray always consider and be consoled with these:
1. The love of God that wants the best for us.
2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
3. The power of God that can accomplish it.
Allow me to end my homily with an exhortation taken from the letter of Paul to the Thessalonians:
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus, “ (1 Thess. 5:16-18).