Gospel Reflections

Gospel Reflection for  Sunday the 20th of October 2019

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Luke 18: 1-8

Mission Sunday: Mass for the evangelisation of peoples 20th October 2019.

A simple two fold message in the Gospel this week to pray continually and never to lose heart. This might be translated as perseverance in prayer and not to lose hope.  Faith has been the recurring theme in this month of October. ‘Increase our faith’ and ‘go your faith has saved you’ we have heard.  And so again this parable about a persistent widow and unjust judge is meant to serve as a story of hope for those who keep their faith alive whilst persevering in prayer. If I could offer some advice from this parable it would be to notice how the widow identifies her request in seeking justice from her enemy. Experience would teach that not only perseverance is important in prayer, but also to identify the petition we make and be consistent with it.
How often in the Gospels Jesus asks ‘What is it you want?’. Don’t make the mistake of presumption with prayer, the attitude that God knows what I want.

Speak to God in prayer, tell him what you want. Like the persistent widow be stubborn in your prayer. Don’t make the lazy practice of moving from one request to the next. Take time to reflect on what it is you actually want. Tell God, be patient and don’t become disheartened when you don’t get the instant gratification that we have been conditioned to in an on demand culture. Our relationship with God is more precious than that, more lasting.  And this is how the parable concludes by reminding us that not only does God hear our prayer but that it will be answered. And we can’t conclude a reflection on this parable without at least acknowledging the enigmatic question, ‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’
As a people of faith, it can be easy to look at our world and fear what may seem like a lack of faith around us. Perhaps this question disturbs us because it asks, well what about you, you who have heard this word, do you have faith in the Son of Man, faith in God? So as long as we remain in our faith, a faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, this question will not disturb us, but be a hopeful one that we partake in.

This Sunday is Mission Sunday in the Church calendar, mass for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Pope Francis in his prayer request for this month of October invites us to go to the peripheries of the human, cultural and religious settings, to take the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection to those who have not heard it. This takes a new spring first in our own hearts and minds before we can take it to others. So again, let us grow the practice of being more specific, perseverant and hopeful when it comes to our prayer.When I think of mission I think fondly of the letter Populorum Progressio by Saint Paul VI although written in 1967 I believe it still holds prophetic relevance for today.
I highly recommend it and conclude with a link:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html

– Fr Frank Trias  CP

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