With Hearts Ablaze

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The WORD in Other words (2022) by Fr Dante Barril SVD (Rome)

Saturday 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

Photo: At Holy Mass in Maison Arnold Janssen, Kinshasa, Congo

Jesus is teaching the disciples about the necessity to pray without losing heart. It could be because the disciples were half-hearted and lukewarm in their prayer. The parable then is meant to “set them on fire.”

Jesus speaks of a widow. But in a different light. In the bible, widows are generally perceived as poor, weak, and helpless. But the widow in Jesus’ story is anything but helpless.

First, she has an adversary! Poor, weak, and vulnerable people don’t have adversaries; they have oppressors.

Second, she dares to complain straight to the judge.

Third and most importantly, she actually manages to scare the wits out of a judge who proudly proclaims not to be scared even of God!

This episode should not be called “The Parable of the Persistent Widow” but “The Parable of the Scary Widow”! Jesus is teaching those big, macho fishermen to be scary persistent, like the scary widow!

I invite you who are reading this reflection to thank God for the example of “scary persistence” in prayer and faith of the many nameless, simple, and vulnerable people whose audacity and strength equal that of the scary widow.

It is our mission to be scary persistent in our prayers as well. So that when Jesus arrives, he will find faithful people with hearts ablaze.

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