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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

29th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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In our Gospel for this Sunday Jesus tells us about our need to pray and not to lose heart when we don’t get what we pray for straight away. Over a long period of time many people have prayed for various things for example family concerns for healing of body mind or spirit or whatever. Some people ask me why god is not answering their prayers straight away in the here and now of the present moment and I tell them that their prayers will be answered when God in heaven sees that they really need whatever they have been praying for. My own experience is that we often pray for things and don’t get them straight away but we get the things we prayed for when we really need them. Remember that Rome was not built in a day: No great work can ever be achieved without long and patient effort and this is the same for us in our prayer lives work of patient persistent prayer will yield results as God helps us to get through all our problems large and small and gives us some surprises along the way.

Remember the saying that nothing is impossible for those who have faith and if our faith is the size of mustard seed it can move mountains.  The prayer in today’s gospel is the prayer of petition. If our prayers are always prayers of petition, we run the risk of being selfish and self-centered; except, of course, when the prayers of petition are for others. Like one of the ten lepers in last weeks gospel, we ask, and then when our prayers are answered, we return to give thanks to God. When we meet the judge and the widow in this Gospel passage we meet them at a crisis point. We have no case history for the widow but we do for the judge. He is a hard man who isn’t influenced by religious principle or by public opinion. Both justice and compassion are absent from his dealings with the widow. She has no influential friends to bring pressure on the judge and she has no money to bribe him: all she has is the justice of her cause and her own persistence.

Jesus encourages us to be persistent in our prayer and never lose heart. We live In an age where we have become accustomed to instant results we are impatient with what appear to be endless delays in god’s response to us. The danger is that we give up too quickly, that we rest our case too easily and move on. We have to be persistent; we have to invest time in our beliefs and persistent prayer will help us to do this. Through this parable, Jesus teaches us the need for perseverance in prayer. This perseverance develops our trust and confidence in God. It helps us to  to realize how weak we are when left to ourselves. It keeps us close to God, as we learn how dependent we are on His generous love. If we would realize that God is perhaps closer to us than we realise when we think He is forgetting us for he never forgets us!

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