Exodus 17:8-13

Psalms 121:1-8

2 Timothy 3:14-4:2

Luke 18:1-8

The cry of the persistent widow to the judge rings so very true: “I want you to render a just decision for me against my adversary!” How much I can appreciate the widow’s determination to receive justice! She no doubt was swindled out of monies having to do with property, and a judge was either uninterested in helping her, for he “neither feared God nor respected any human being,” or he was being especially vindictive for selfish reasons. “I want justice!” It was not a complicated request, and it wasn’t anything other than what everybody would want.

A “long time” is not defined in the gospel, but the impression is surely given that the widow has been begging for justice for a considerable amount of time. That she is a widow may very well imply that she is a woman of age, and before her time on earth runs out, she is determined to see justice done. And justice will be done, but not because of any major conversion on the part of the “dishonest judge” – he is still and probably remained dishonest.

What wears the judge down is the widow’s persistence, and his fear that she might resort to physical violence. What the widow desires is justice, and that justice is not dependent on the purity of the judge’s heart. The widow’s heart was no doubt filled with hope, for she believed what she heard read from the Scriptures: her “help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth…. [who] neither sleeps nor slumbers… [and who] will guard her from all evil.”

All who have ever prayed consistently and persistently for God’s attention realize that God acts in God’s time, but if our hearts are filled with the hope of the widow we will be as persistent with regards our own prayers, even if it takes a “long time.”

We pray for things to be “right and just” before the most sacred moment of the Mass, because our God is “right and just,” and will not rest until justice is established on the earth which is the work of His hands. Dishonest judges, dishonest bishops, can thwart God’s plan for justice to prevail. Like the widow in today’s gospel, our hearts must be filled with hope, and demand justice, being “persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convincing, reprimanding, encouraging through all patience and teaching” the establishment of justice on the earth.

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