By: Rev. Fr. Orly Mendoza
Had you ever desired something in your heart and prayed for it so that the Lord might give it to you? Isn’t it that oftentimes, we simply pray for it and then leave it to divine mercy? This is a constant experience that we have regarding our prayers to God especially when we pray for something hard to achieve or acquire. And we wonder what happened to our prayers when we do not get what we want. Is not God a merciful and loving God? Then we blame God for not giving us what we have prayed for.
The gospel for this Sunday opens our minds to the truth that the reason behind the failures of our prayers is the lack of perseverance. The parable about the unjust judge and the persistent woman is all about the message of Jesus Christ regarding the need for us “to pray continually and never lose heart” (Lk 18:1b). The parable does not liken God to the unjust judge but rather makes a sharp contrast to him showing God to be a loving and just God with these words: “will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them? (Lk 18:7).
In prayer, perseverance is the key to God’s heart and oftentimes towards God’s conceding to our prayer. Perseverance in prayer is not simply a prayer but it is unlocking the door of heaven as the song says: “Pray is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.” Behind the perseverance in prayer is the faith in God who is a loving Father and who is always ready to give to His children what His children deserve and what is good for His children.
Jesus Christ wants us to pray perseveringly to God not necessarily so that God may give to us our heart’s desire. God will certainly give His children what is good for them. But many times He does not give to us our requests because we pray either for the things that will not be good for us or for the things that will not make us better Christians at the moment. For this reason, God sometimes delays our requests. There are times when we are not yet ready for what we ask for. We simply have to wait perseveringly in prayer and God will just give us what will make us better in due time.
Behind the teaching of Christ regarding perseverance in prayer is not so much that God may give in to our request as nothing can force Him not even our immediate needs; rather, that we may constantly be united with Him. While for us what is important is our request, for God what is important is us being in communion with Him. It is only when what we pray will make us one with God that He willingly grants our prayer.
God is love and His love is not self-centered but an abounding love that is shared with us all. He loves us by desiring our good. Since we are created in His image and likeness and created for Him, our good or self-fulfillment can only be attained when we are one with Him. Like our existence that can never affect the existence of God, our prayer can in no way affect God or do something good to God. When we pray, we pray to God and for us and never for God. The good things that our prayers can do are meant to better our lives. And we become better and best when and only when we are one with God. Jesus Christ encourages us to persevere in prayer because this will make us the best of who we are.
TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (October 16, 2022)
Ex 17:8-13/2 Tim 3:14-4:2/Lk 18:1-8
Sunday for Culture