Saturday, October 15, 2016

Thy Will Be Done

By Diane Bayne

In the second reading of today’s liturgy, Paul emphasizes the importance of the virtue of persistence: “ persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Then, in the Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the importance of persistence in a parable about a poor widow who repeatedly berates a corrupt judge about his failure to give her a just decision. Because of her persistence, the judge finally yields to her pestering and gives the widow the decision she insists upon. With this parable, Jesus points out that holding onto our faith–especially during times when our prayers are not speedily answered–may not be easy. We will be continually challenged and it is only through persistence that we will prevail.

In his commentary on the Gospel of Luke, William Barclay makes several salient points about this parable:
  • “The Judge was not a Jewish judge, but one of the paid magistrates appointed either by Herod or by the Romans.” Says Barclay, “Such judges were notorious.  Unless a plaintiff had influence and money to bribe his way to a verdict, he had no hope of every getting his case settled.”  (Barclay, “The Gospel of Luke,” p. 222)
  • “The widow was a symbol of all who were poor and defenseless and, without any material resources had only one weapon for getting justice from such a judge: persistence.”  (Barclay, p. 222)

Barclay concludes his analysis of this parable by quoting Jesus’ perplexing question: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18: 8)   Barclay offers this rationale for Jesus’ question by saying that “...We do not know what will happen in the next hour, let alone the next week, or month, or year.  Only God sees time whole, and therefore, only God knows what is good for us in the long run.  That is why Jesus said we must never be discouraged in prayer.”  Barclay speculates that Jesus asks if He will find faith when He comes again because he wonders if our faith would stand the long delay before this coming.  (Barclay, pp. 222-223.)  I find his reasoning on this point convincing–especially during those times when it seems to me that my prayers are not easily-- or speedily, or satisfactorily--answered.

At the end of all our petitions, let us resolve to incorporate ALWAYS one or more of the following petitions:

“Jesus, I trust in thee.”

“Thy will be done.”

“Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

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