November 15, 2014

The Gospel Today

Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Reflection (Sem. Al Pestano):

           There was a beautiful text message I received last summer about prayer.  The message goes like this:  God answers our prayer in three ways:  first, God may say yes, and grant you what you are praying for; second, God may say, wait my child, it is not yet time; and the third, God may say no to what you are asking for and give you a better one.

            Our Gospel today is about the effectiveness of our perseverance in praying.  God is assuring us that He listens to all of our prayers.  He gives us all that we are asking for or should I say, more than what we are asking for; God wants to give us what is best, we only need not to lose hope and get tired of praying.  God never gets tired of listening to us, it is only us who gets tired of talking to Him through prayers.  We can never say that we do not have time for praying.  We always have time for prayer.  We only need to find it.  In order to do this, one needs to overcome laziness and raise one’s eyes to God at every turn.  St. John Chrysostom said that “A man can pray devoutly whether he is standing in the public square or during a quiet walk; seated at his study desk or while he works at other tasks, he can raise his heart and soul to God.”

            Our perseverance in prayer should also lead us to faith.  During my hospital apostolate I met a patient who had a stage three cancer of the colon.  In our conversation, I learned that he was already suffering from that illness for quite some time already.  A few years ago he already underwent chemotherapy and had a remission after that, but it recurred and, for that reason, he was again back in the hospital.  He told me that he was still hopeful that he would be cured from his illness and at the same time he was leaving it to God, whether he would still be cured or not.  He had been praying to God constantly; at first he said, he was praying that he may be cured but later on he already accepted his illness and learned to surrender everything to God.  “Thy will be done, Lord” was already his prayer.  “I was just asking the Lord to make me endure whatever pain I would be experiencing,” he continued, “anyway, God knows what would be best for me and even for my family whom I would leave behind if ever I would die.”  Faith nourished faith, but faith, in turn, grew when it was enlivened by prayer.  By learning how to surrender everything to God, the patient had grown in faith in God through his constant prayer.  At first it was a prayer for him to be spared from his sickness then he was able to accept whatever the will of God was for him.  He grew in faith when he prayed perseveringly.

            When we pray, we pray for our need but we also need to understand that God knows better than us.  He knows when to give it at exactly the time that we need it most.  If we have not received yet what we are praying for, it may not be the time or perhaps God is preparing something good for us.  What is important is that we constantly communicate to God.  Our regular dialogue with God will lead us to a change of heart and a change in attitude. 

            Let me end this reflection with a quotation from the book of St. Josemaria Escriva entitled “The Forge.”  In it, the saint said that, “You grew in the face of difficulties in the apostolate when you prayed:  ‘Lord, You are the same as ever.  Give me the faith of those men who knew how to correspond to Your grace, who worked great miracles, real marvels in Your name…’ And you finished off:  “I know that you will do it:  but I also know that you want to be asked.  You want to be sought out.  You want us to knock hard at the door of Your heart.’  At the end, You renewed Your resolve to persevere in humble and trusting prayer”

            Let us always be consoled by the thought that God always listens to us, to our cry, to our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.  Let us not grow weary in prayers for we have a God who never gets weary on us.  We have a God who always waits for us in prayers, a God who is more than willing to give everything for us, even giving His only Son for our own sake.

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