Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This is a strange conclusion to the parable of the unjust judge. It is odd because it talks of ‘faith’ but there’s nothing about belief in the parable – or so it seems.
In the first reading Paul praises his readers who are ‘faithful’ in what they do for others, especially ‘strangers.’ Literally, that means they are ‘full of faith’ in their actions towards others, but again there is nothing about what they believe.
Faith, one might conclude, is about action as well as belief or creed. Or better, belief shows itself in action that is generous (the first reading) and just (the second). And God is faithful (“full of faith”) towards the widow, by an action of helping her.
You may wish to think of what actions you do that are ‘full of faith.” And do you think that when you are faithful – to your spouse, your family responsibilities, your job – that you imitate God’s faithfulness? When does your set of beliefs show itself in generous and/or just actions?
—Fr. Dennis Dillon, S.J. serves as pastoral minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also an avid stamp collector and accomplished magician.
Lord, you tell us to “pray always and not to lose heart.” Sometimes when our prayers go unanswered and we simply cannot see the dawn of hope, we question the value of prayer. Yet if we persist in prayer, we discover that the ultimate answer to all prayer is relationship with you.
Lord, we trust that prayer transforms us — that which weighs us down becomes the impetus for drawing us closer to you. We trust that at the most elemental level, all will be well. And so we pray the words you spoke from the cross, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.”
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!