Gate Pa – Year C th Sunday of Ordinary Time,
Psalm: Psalm: 119:97-104
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:27-34
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
What I want to say:
Do we pray without ceasing? what is it we pray for? and why do we pray – so that God will fix it, or something else?
I want to explore what it means to pray unceasingly for justice, and how that prayer changes us to be people of justice.
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on how they pray, what they pray for, and what they hope will happen.
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
are we guilty of praying always? unceasingly?
and what do we pray for?
2. The Story
so Jesus goes on to tell a story
about a judge
who neither fears God
nor had respect for people
certainly didn’t love God with all his heart and soul and body and mind
didn’t love his neighbour as himself
ð some suggest is definition of the very thing he refused to give
and a widow
in his world life got really hard without man in your life
ð became non person
life expectancy got much much shorter
especially true if already among poor
which most people were
so have judge not good giving justice
widow who comes to him and beat him black and blue with her complaint
'Grant me justice against my opponent.'
judge neither fears God nor respects people
so refuses to act
but she keeps coming –
the greek says she beats him black and blue with her complaint
eventually he relents just to stop her coming
“"Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? 7 So what makes you think God won't step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won't he stick up for them? 8 I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet.”
finishes with – “But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?"
which all seems really straight forward
God will act
ð if God is acting – why do I need to be like the widow?
ð what is it I am supposed to be praying for?
ð what do I hope will happen?
4. Why pray
so why pray unceasingly?
sometimes we see ourselves in this story as the widow
nagging God with our requests
which doesn’t feel right really
because God is not an unjust judge
but God deep and passionate love for all people
But what if God does not need our nagging
what if we need our nagging
went mountain biking few years ago
guy leading it told us to look where we wanted to go
because on bike (and I think in life)
we go where we look
in fact signs all over Victoria in Australia for motor cyclists saying just that
you will go where you look
prayer directs our looking
we pray for what we are looking at
sometimes we pray for things that deeply concern us
and sometime we pray for things that we think we should pray for
not that important to us
more we pray
more we look
more we go there
more those things become important to us.
so prayer isn’t about us nagging God
it is about us learning to look
or to put it another way
our pray shapes us
more we pray for something
more important that thing will become for us
more time we will give it
more we will look to it
more we will become God’s agents in that situation.
when we pray without stopping
we are slowly changed by our prayer
our priorities change
what’s important to us changes
way see world changes
Praying isn’t being like widow nagging God
Praying is being like the widow nagging ourselves to pay real attention to what we are praying about.
In that way – we are the unjust judge
not fearing God
not respecting others
and in prayer we learn
by loving neighbour as ourselves
5. Praying for?
So what are we praying for?
the persistent faith of widow was her expectation of justice
that justice would be given her
what is justice?
when God is feared and people respected
or when we love God with all our heart and soul and mind
by loving our neighbour as ourselves, and as we are loved.
A lot of people I read about this passage suggest
our incessant prayer is to be about justice
our prayer is to be about widows of our world
and we are to be like widow
beating down God with our demands for justice
and in doing so learning to be like widow
beating the powers of our time that do not fear God and to not respect others
what are the issues of justice that need our incessant prayer today
prayer to God
that leads to action