Recently, I watched a child badger her mother at the check-out line until she was rewarded with the giant sucker she’d been pleading for. You might disapprove of the spoiled child or the indulgent parent, but you have to admit that child had complete faith. She persevered and was rewarded.
In today’s Gospel we hear about the persistent widow who had faith and never gave up. If the unjust judge finally gave in, how much more will a just God do for us?
In the advocacy work I do with Development and Peace, we sometimes work for years to inch the scales of justice towards fairness. For instance, we have been working for over 20 years to get our government to commit to regulate corporate social responsibility regarding human and environmental rights. The steps we have achieved are baby steps, but we persevere. Writing letters, signing petitions, and visiting politicians can seem like a futile exercise if done alone. But when my efforts are joined with others in community, my voice is amplified. We each give and receive the strength we need to persevere.
Looking at the world around us, we might be tempted to throw up our hands and ask Is there any use trying? Will prayer bring peace in Ukraine, save the polar ice, solve homelessness or cure drug addiction?
My mother used to tell us to pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on us. I’m sure the widow in this parable would agree. When we feel like giving up, the story of the widow can remind us that God is loving and generous, but we are required to do our part. When life looks hopeless, remember the widow and pray as she did.