Homily for the twenty-ninth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 18:1-8
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Jesus told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, «In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.' For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'» And the Lord said, «Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Jesus told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. "
 
Apparently, we don't have to look very hard to find the topic of today's gospel. Saint Luke himself clearly tells us: "Jesus told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Prayer: that is the topic for today! But is that really all? Behind these words, which are very clear in their meaning, is there not a deeper meaning for us to discover? Let us go back to that evening when Jesus prayed very fervently to his Father: the evening that preceded his death, when Jesus prayed so much that he sweated drops of blood! "Having been in agony, he was more earnestly praying, and his sweat became, as it were, great drops of blood falling upon the ground." (Lk. 22:44)
 
What a terrifying thing! Jesus sweated drops of blood! What, then, was his prayer, that he was brought to this state? On that evening, Jesus said: "Father, if Thou be willing, make this cup pass from me; but, not my will, but Thine be done." (Lk. 22:42) But what reveals the entire meaning of his prayer are the words he then addressed to his disciples: "Watch and pray..." (Mk. 14:38) With those words, Jesus expresses the whole meaning of his prayer, the prayer par excellence: "Watch and pray"! The prayer of Jesus is a vigil, a waiting! The prayer of Jesus is an anticipation of his transition from this world to his Father! When Jesus prayed on the day before his Passion, he already saw the painful transition that would lead him to his Father: "Father, if Thou be willing, make this cup pass from me; but, not my will, but Thine be done."
 
If such was the prayer of Jesus, why should ours be different from his? We have no better model than Jesus! Our prayer must therefore be similar to his. Our prayer must be an expectation of our own transition from this world to the eternity that is to come: our prayer must be a vigil for the day of eternity! Every day of our life could be the last that takes place here on earth, every day could be that of our meeting with the Lord, he who will judge us for all eternity! In his parable, doesn't Jesus speak of "justice"? Moreover, doesn't he say, speaking of God, "I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily"? Doesn't this tell us that he will soon return to judge the living and the dead? The sentence that follows is without any ambiguity: "Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
 
" He said, «In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.' For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'» "
 
The widow of whom Jesus speaks did not weary of praying: she continued until the unrighteous judge gave her justice. This is the human example which Jesus himself gives us! But do we act in the same way? Do we still have enough faith to pray in this way? If we don't, let us first ask the Lord for it! Then we will pray for justice, in order that the righteous Judge will finally appear and give to each person what he deserves! Let us repeat this: do we still have enough faith to pray in such a manner? The first Christians, with Saint Paul and Saint John, cried out: "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20; 1 Cor. 16:22) "Marana tha!" What do we say when we pray to our Father? "Thy kingdom come!" Therefore, watch and pray.
 
" «Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?» "
 
These words of the Lord can have two meanings. The first is that, at the time of the second coming of Christ, faith will have almost completely disappeared from the earth, and there will only be a very small number of believers. The second possible meaning is that faith will no longer be seen exteriorly on earth, and that it will only exist internally, in the hearts of believers. If this prophecy of the Lord must be fulfilled (and why would it not be fulfilled?), then may Heaven allow the second meaning to be the one to be fulfilled! For in that case, faith will still exist in a great number of believers, allowing them thus to be saved.
 
Let us ask God for this grace, let us ask for it through Mary, "who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Lk. 1:45) Let us ask for this grace especially at the moment when we shall celebrate the great Mystery of Faith!
 

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