Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16, 2022

This homily was not delivered in a Latin Rite Parish this Sunday. I am serving a Maronite Rite Parish in Tequesta, FL

Exodus 17, 8-13 + Psalm 121 + 2 Timothy 3, 14 + 4, 2 + Luke 18, 1-8

As always with parables, things get turned upside down. No exception with this one. This weekend, a powerless, woman has all the power. The all-powerful judge with all the right connections and authority is helpless in the case with this woman. In demanding her rights, her dignity, and a respectful hearing, she stands for all the weak and powerless on this earth who cry out for justice, respect, and a dignified life worthy of God’s children.

The perseverance evidenced in this parable is not really about pestering or badgering God. It is not as though God can or would change God’s mind if we say enough rosaries or twice as many novenas. What must change is not God, but the heart of those in charge, those who can do something about injustice.

God is not involved in this parable. It’s between the woman and the judge. He is the one who must provide what she needs. God has given him the means, the position, and the power to do so. There is no suggestion that the judge is the cause of her condition. What is at fault is his indifference and his false peace coming from his complacency.

In some ways, the widow is preaching conversion. She demands the sort of relationships we should expect in the Kingdom of God. Justice for her will ultimately bring justice for all including the judge who will have fulfilled the Law of Moses by caring for a widow thereby justifying himself in the eyes of God. It’s a win-win situation for them both.

It seems to me that this story is a reminder that part of the Christian vocation does include disturbing the complacent and working with constant persistence for justice. Perhaps these verses are not nearly as much about prayer as they are about discipleship, faith, and vision of the Kingdom of God and what it takes to get there.

Father Tom Boyer