Homily October 20, 2013 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 15, 2013

judgeThe parable in today’s gospel reminds us of a few weeks ago when we were introduced to the unjust steward. Today we meet the unjust judge or a man who did not fear God or any human being but was concerned only with himself. As an example of prayer, Jesus introduces the widow who seeks only justice from this judge. The only thing going for this widow was her ongoing persistence to receive what was rightfully hers. In the end, the widow received her judgment because of what might happen to the judge if he refused her. So Jesus says persistence is important in prayer and it will lead to success.

While this story is very encouraging, prayer itself is a difficult thing to address. We see many examples of prayer all around us. Yet what does it mean to pray? One thing prayer is not is a lot of words yet on the other hand words are what we use to communicate. Prayer is really putting ourselves in God’s presence or making ourselves available to him. Through the centuries we see examples of many ways that people pray from the religious and monks in a convent or monastery to people in their daily lives at home or in church, at work, or simply taking a moment aside. What is important is the giving over ourself to God in mind and heart. This giving is helpful for God knows the needs and desires of our heart and life all ready. Faithfulness and persistence is important to him. Miracles and extraordinary things happen in our lives, but most often God looks after us in mundane ordinary ways that just keep us and maintains us day-to-day.

Many years ago, as a young priest, my first assignment was for a summer at a parish which served a large hospital. One thing we did was to take communion to the patients every day and administer whatever sacraments they requested. As you can probably imagine, with the enthusiasm of a new ministry, I visited the people listed as Catholic and the others who were in the same rooms when I met a gentleman who was listed as Catholic but said “no thank you, I want nothing to do with religion, I gave it up years ago”. After visiting I left him, yet I promised to return. After leaving, I met his wife and daughter in the corridor who were surprised he had even talked to me. They said that they had been praying for thirty years for his return to God, but they had given up hope as now he was dying. Well as my time continued, I saw this man each day at least for a short time each day and we talked but still he remained removed from God. christ-in-prayer-christ-at-dawnOn my next to last day that summer, when I greeted him, he said Father, its time. It was then he received all the sacraments he had missed over many years plus the ones to prepare for his dying. The prayers of his family had been answered and that very night he passed on to eternal life. A Miracle? Perhaps. Years of prayer had brought Christ’s love to all of them. Their vision of what they wanted might have been different but in his own way Christ brought them together.

Prayer can be hard because we have this thing about results. Prayer can so seem to be one way communication. Who of us can claim to hear God’s voice. Our prayers are answered such as how we are cared for in one way or another. Our needs are not always satisfied the way we envision but somehow things work out. None of us is guaranteed a direct line to God. Through out history, many of the great mystics and saints tell of aloneness and emptiness of their prayer life. Think of Jesus himself on the cross. He said “Why have you abandoned me?” The thing to remember is that he never abandons us. He is always there listening and looking over us even if we don’t feel it. Often times we won’t see the results of our prayers but much good will come of them for ourselves and for those we pray for.


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