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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P. Luke Ch 18 1:8

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.  Luke Ch 18 1:8

There are lots of books telling us how to pray. I find concentrating on their complicated techniques makes prayer seem so difficult, so scary, so off-putting, killing my spontaneity.

But Jesus doesn't do that.Instead, as in today's Gospel, He gives us some useful tips on how to pray, some encouragement and a parable to show us what He means.

Here He uses the example of a persistent widow who begs a judge to ensure that she gets what is owed her.She represents all of us turning to God in our need.

Surprisingly, the judge is this parable was not a just man.He admits he didn't care about the widow's rights, and resented her being such a nuisance.We are told he had no respect for either God or man.But this widow, a real nuisance, was wearing him down by her persistence! If he was ever to have any peace he had to do what she was pestering him to do.

By this parable Jesus urges us to follow the widow … persist in asking God for what we want.Jesus contrasts a loving and caring God with the grudging, grumbling, unjust judge.If the bad judge answered this persistent request, a good God would certainly respond to our repeated prayers.But surely a considerate God would save us the trouble of asking over and over again!

All the same, isn't it puzzling, frustrating, that God does not immediately give us what we want? We're certainly nottrying to wear God down - as we, as children, used to nag our parents into giving us what we wanted.

Isn't the mentality of today's world to expect instant results? This may easily lead us to become impatient with God when He doesn't immediately answer our prayers.We may even question His love and concern for us.

But God has good reason for delaying in answering our prayers.He is not the one to play cruel games with us –simply to torment us.No! His delay is meant to help us to sort out what we really want.

If something is really important to us we will keep on asking for that, and not for something else.But with passing fancies we soon move onto a new request.We can be so like a child who at first fancies one toy, gets tired of it, throws it down and asks for a different one –and then another, and an other. Only if the child persists in asking for the same toy will it show this is what is really wanted. Both God and our parents use delaying tactics to help us sort out our priorities.

But God doesn't always give us what we really do want. And this might bring us to questioning the value of prayer, especially when what we seek seems to be really good and very important either for ourselves or for someone else, for example the cure of a serious illness.

A real mystery, indeed! For us the question, "Do we really must trust God's wisdom and love?Can we accept that He knows not only what is good, but also what is best for us?"Such trust is easier said than done!But He will only give us what will best help us on the way to our eternal salvation.He will never give us what will harm us.

A loving parent would never give his child a red-hot coal, simply because the child was fascinated by its bright colour and kept asking for it.Such indulgence would be very harmful and would be a betrayal of love and trust.God would never do that!

Elsewhere in Luke's Gospel, ch. 11. 11-13, Jesus asks, "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So, if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

But it is right that we should turn to God in our daily needs, but always with the proviso, 'Thy will be done.'That's what the 'Lord's Prayer' teaches us. In this spirit Jesus urges us to be persistent in praying and not to lose heart.

A final thought.God never refuses to answer our prayers, even when He doesn't give us what we want. 'No' can be the deepest expression of love, when what we seek would harm us.Even then, the prayer will not be wasted.God will respond to our turning to Him and will give us what will help us on our journey to heaven. That's why the psalmist prayed, "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Ps. 27. 5). God will always answer that pray

​ Greetings from Fr Peter Clarke. Today I'm recording the reflection on 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time of my brother Fr. Isidore Clarke. His health hasn't been of the best recently. Today's Gospel is taken from St. Luke, Ch. 18. 1-8.

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