Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time, October 21, 2007

Exodus 17: 8 - 13

2 Timothy 3: 14 - 4:2

Luke 18: 1 - 8

Believe, hope, pray

Jesus tells a parable and, at the same time, gives the key to understanding it. He tells us to pray always without becoming discouraged. The story places two people before us: the widow, the biblical example par excellence of the person without defense, and a judge who is not in a hurry to render justice. It is the persevering attitude of the widow that brings about change in the judge. Jesus exhorts his disciples to be persevering: if they cry day and night to God, God will not delay in rendering justice! But the risk is that the disciples lose confidence. Will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he returns ?

The figure of the Son of Man is a paradox. It evokes the power and glory of the enigmatic person of the Apocalypse who will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. But in Aramean, as in Hebrew, the expression is commonly used to designate a man who is weak, finished (cf. Psalm 8:5). And each time that Jesus foretells his Passion, he speaks of himself as the Son of Man who should suffer much, be rejected by the Elders, the Chief Priests and Scribes, be killed and rise on the third day (9, 22 ; 9, 44 ; 17, 25 ; 18, 31). Thus, through the figure of the Son of Man, Jesus reminds the disciples of both his sorrowful passion and his glorious return at the end of time to establish the Kingdom in its fullness.

When Jesus invites the disciples to pray without becoming discouraged, we have to hear both the Promise of the Kingdom and the coming times of trial. Let us ask the grace of trusting faith for ourselves and for each other. This is our prayer to Jesus Moses has given the example; the Lord never abandons those who come in prayer. Yet we have to know how to remain confident. Perseverance in daily life is the concrete expression of the theological virtue of hope.

—Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.