29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Exodus 17,8-13; 2 Tim 3,14-4,2; Luke 18,1-8
The weapons of prayer
The whole world can be changed. You just need to use the right means
As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek.
What were those raised hands for God? Without them would He not be able to support the Israelites in the fight with the Amalek?
This illustrates that they were not victorious by their own power, but the power of God, which Moses did not cease to plead for. And it also illustrates that although God can do anything a person should also has to be involved in mutual divine-human deeds. As far as they can be, of course. They should not stand waiting with arms folded until God does everything for them.
On the other hand, it deeply affects me that the words used in Jesus’ parable are so harsh, even shocking. The judge decides to listen to the widow, explaining to himself this submission by fear of her reaction. The phrase “lest she torment me” used in the Millennium Bible, translated “lest she hit me in the face!” Is it possible to translate these words in this way? You can, because the Greek term is used there, which also translates as “blackening someone’s eye”, or, following the Latin text, “scoffing at someone”! It is a very hard word, but it may show us how hard we must put in prayer to be effective. Could God be so difficult to obtain any grace? The parable is a kind of ambush for those who have the image of an inexorable God in their hearts. After all, we can’t understand God as a hard Creator, who will only listen to us when we really humiliate ourselves, and by whining, to ask Him for the slightest grace.
Before God I am like a small child who needs parents. But He doesn’t see me as no hoper, He doesn’t do everything for me: as a wise parent He wants me to join in His work. This is an honour for ever.
Delighted by the saints as models of faith, more than once I promised God greater zeal and commitment, I wanted to devote more time to Him. But more than once my grovelling desires were for nothing, often turning out to be a ‘flash in the pan’.
How many promises, frequent adoration, longer prayer, giving up some small pleasures have I made to God? Perseverance for a short time sufficing. Maybe that’s why I still don’t experience or notice miracles in my life? And I am still far from holiness? Only persistent and trusting prayer can change that. And it’s not about spectacular resolutions, but about faithfulness to God despite everything. Despite fatigue, discouragement and a thousand things to do. After all, it is enough to kneel down and repeat the words of the simplest prayer every day – “be with me, Lord, strengthen and support me”.
Lord God, I am only a pitiable person, and I don’t often manage to change myself, let alone winning the world for You. But if I can help You in something that leads a person to eternity – then my hands and heart are open.