29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): The One With the Power

(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel to your child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection, then read the Gospel, then continue with the reflection.)


Luke 18:1-8


In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells us a parable about prayer. We know that parables are stories, little mysteries that invite us to ask the question: What more can Jesus mean?

“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.’

There are two people in this parable: a judge—someone who makes decisions about what is right and what is wrong; and a widow—a woman whose husband has died.

In Jesus' time, the men take care of the women. If a woman has a problem, her husband or father or son should speak up for her. A woman whose husband has died has lost the man most likely to speak up for her. Everyone listening to Jesus knows that this woman is in serious trouble. She has a problem and no one to speak for her. She turns to the judge for help.


What does she know about the judge?

She knows he has the power to help her. She is certain of this. She has faith.


Does the judge help her?

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.’”

The judge does not help her at first. We do not know why. But we do know why he eventually decides to help her:

"because this widow keeps bothering me"

He helps her because he gets worn down by her pestering! He is exhausted!


St. Luke tells us that this parable is about praying. So, we can wonder: Who could the widow with a problem be like? Who has serious problems?


People who are sick.

People who are alone.

People who are in situations too difficult to fix by themselves.

We can name more people who have problems they cannot sort out all on their own.

People we love.

Sometimes, even ourselves.


The widow turns to the judge because she knows he has the power to help. If this parable is about praying, who are we supposed to turn to?

The One with the Power to help.


But is the judge like God? Does he remind us of God? Does God help only when God gets exhausted from hearing us ask for help? Yikes! We hope not! And Jesus says, no:

"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."

His chosen ones. It is so good to be chosen, isn't it? We are chosen by God. This is why we come to be baptized.


So why do we need to be like the widow, crying to God "day and night"? Does not God already know what we need? When a sheep who is lost cries out, "I'm lost!" does not the Good Shepherd already know that? Of course he does.


But Jesus says it is important to pray, so it must be important.

"And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

We need to have faith like the widow, that the One with the Power will help. We need to turn our eyes towards that power so that when God comes, we are ready—we will see the help we have been praying for.


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