Scripture: 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?” (Luke 18:1-8).
Reflection: Today’s lectionary readings point out that God’s people know God’s word and act on it with faith and hope because it acts in and through them.
The prophet Jeremiah proclaims the Lord will ‘put in writing God’s law on people’s hearts’ so that they will sin no more (Jeremiah 31:33). The Psalmist says that the Lord’s words are “sweeter than honey in his mouth” because they make him wise, give him understanding, and hold him back from every evil way (Psalm 119:97-104). Paul instructs his young apprentice Timothy to continue in what he has learned and firmly believed because God’s inspired word will equip him for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14-17). The persistent widow in Jesus’ parable continues to seek justice from the mulish judge because she knows the law of God, she knows her rights, and she courageously perseveres until the judge grants her justice from her opponent.
When we read God’s word, study it, meditate upon it, and memorize it, it acts in us through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables us to courageously enter and more fully live into the meaning of the God’s Word dwelling in us for ourselves and for others even when confronted by fear in the face of pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and suffering. This is the kind of active faith Jesus is seeking to find when he returns (Luke 18:8). In your moments of prayer, speak to God about what God’s word is calling you to be or do. Perhaps you can pray for a desire to fall in love again or for the first time with God’s word.
Prayer: Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn away from your ordinances, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way (Psalm 119:97-104).