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Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD October 9, 2022

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time / C

There’s an old, familiar dictum which goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Of course, this doesn’t apply to committing suicide!

The persistent spirit is what the Lord in this 29th Sunday gospel teaches in regard to praying (Lk 18, 1-8).

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Jesus illustrates this persistence through an amusing parable about the corrupt and godless judge and the widow who keeps pestering him to render a just decision for her. Because of her importuning even to the point that she might “strike him,” the corrupt judge will give in. Note that there were corrupt judges also during Christ’s time.

Jesus says, ”If a godless judge can give in (to his importuning), how much more a good and loving God!” (Lk 18,7-8).

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Jesus’ parable applies to our faith-relationship with God which teaches that sometimes our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears.

Here are faith testimonies of answered prayers. A lawyer- friend of mine once related that their father inherited the sickly constitution of their grandpa. His doctors warned him that when he would reach 50, the children had better prepare themselves for his early demise.

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“Father and mother ran for assistance from the Holy Trinity and the Holy Family, and attended an extra Mass and the Perpetual Help novenas. I know this because I accompanied them,” he said.

“Tatay (father) died at of 82 and outlived the doctors who predicted his early death, except his last doctor who was very young then!”

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Remember St. Monica, mother of the once worldly, “playboy” Augustine? Deeply worried about her “black sheep” son, she prayed without let up in what seemed like a hopeless battle for 20 years. What happened? Augustine didn’t only reform but went on to become a priest, a bishop and one of the church’s greatest saints. In the end, he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, O Lord.”

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One last thing: In praying, let’s not forget the other side of prayer: OUR SIDE.

One reason why we don’t succeed in prayer or don’t get what we ask for is because we don’t work to attain it.

For instance, we pray for peace but we persist in taking revenge. Why? Because, we forgive but we don’t want to forget. We keep on thinking of the wrongdoings done to us instead of burying them.

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The message of Jesus in today’s gospel is very encouraging. “If you, evil as you are, can be generous with your fellowmen,” Christ said, “how much more with God.”

So, keep praying. Don’t give up.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. “Don’t leave your bags unattended. Some people might think these are the answer to their prayers!”

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A small boy is praying beside his mother in church: “Lord, bigyan mo ako ng cheeseburger, French fries, apple pie, strawberry shake, diet coke.” A priest passing by, retorts: “Iho, nanalangin ka ba o nag-oorder sa Diyos?” (Son, are you praying or ordering God?).

Note: When we pray, we don’t order God but propose. As the saying goes: “Man proposes; God disposes.”


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