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Sunday Message 17th October 2010
Saturday, October 16th 2010

Just desserts Lk 18:1-8

The widow is persistent. She won’t give up. she keeps asking the judge for justice, even though it is clear he’s not interested in her case. After all, he is an unjust judge who has no fear of God and no respect for people. The pleadings of a mere widow cut no ice with him.
But she won’t leave him alone. She won’t desist. The woman wants justice and she’s determined to get it. Maybe she’s being cheated out of her inheritance, or is being abused in some way, but whatever the reason she is utterly convinced she has right on her side.
And then the judge gives in, not because he is interested in justice or moved with compassion, but because he’s afraid of her. When he says that the widow will ‘worry him to death’, what the Greek literally says is: ‘she will hit me under the eye’. In other words, the judge who neither fears God nor respects people grants her request because he is scared the widow will give him a black eye.
The message of the parable is this: Prayer isn’t simply saying pious words. Like the persistent widow, we can’t be content meerly to pray for whatever it is we seek, we must actively seek it. There is a close link between prayer and the work of justice.

“Lord, give me the courage and the commitment of the persistent widow. Help me not only to pray for justice but also to work for it. Amen.”

Look at our society and our world. What injustices exist that need to be addressed? What can you do about it?

God tells us to persevere in prayer, to never give up. Ask God to help you to keep on praying and trusting in him, even when at times God doesn’t seem to be responding to your prayer.

*Prayer and justice go hand in hand. If we are people who pray, then our prayer will compel us to be concerned for justice and to work for it.
*Action for justice is a constitutive part of preaching the Gospel.

The Gurkhas couldn’t believe their lick. For years Nepalese verterans who served in the British army before 1997 had been campaigning for the right to settle in the UK but without success. And then the actress Joanna Lumley took up their cause. Her father had served with the Gurkhas and she felt they were being treated unjustly. She began a campaign on their behalf which attracted huge publicity and put tremendous pressure on the authorities. In the end, the British government had to give in. Ministers were afraid the actress would give them a metaphorical black eye.
There are many Joanna Lumleys throughpout our world today, women and men who work for justice. For more than twenty years widows and mothers have marched in Buenos Aires seeking to discover the fate of their sons and husbands who disappeared during the military rule of the 1980’s. Closer to home, there are the women like Christine Buckley and Marie Collins who suffered abuse and persisted until they were heard.
To be a follower of Jesus means to work for justice. In fact, the Church teaches that action for justice is a constitutive part of preaching the Gospel. It is not enough for us to tell the poor, the hungry, the abused, the unjustly treated that “we will pray for them”. We must also do whatever we can to address the injustice. And, like the persistent widow, we mustn’t give up.



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