New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 24: Year C
2nd Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8
“And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” (Luke 18: 7 – 8)
This parable is so much like the parable about the man who received guest but with nothing to feed them. He went to his neighbor’s door at midnight and knocked and asked for something to feed his guests. At first the neighbor refused and said that he and his children had gone to bed. But Jesus says that because the man in need is persistent he will get up and give him whatever he needs (Luke 11: 5 – 8). We humans are hard wired to give in to requests. It is perhaps in this way that we are created in God’s Image.
We humans are also hardwired to transmit to God any distress we might be experiencing, particularly when we are moved to crying. God’s ears hears tears. Crying is praying regardless of what the person who is crying thinks in terms of what he or she believes. Our souls believe.
I think intentional prayer is a state of being. Inwardly we all ask ourselves what is my life all about. What does God want of me? We have fancy words for this kind of seeking. We call it discernment or a calling. We ask what our “call” is in this life. But we also ask for our needs to be filled. All of us stand in the need of prayer. And all of us stand in the need to pray continually.
We may not want to admit it, but we are born to beg. Like the parable about the unjust judge and the woman seeking justice in our Luke passage for today, God wants to hear our requests. If we are begging God for something, it means that we at least believe in God. If we persist in our faith-wrestle with God, God gives in just as God did with Jacob and renamed him Israel (Genesis 32:22 to 30).
So when the Son of Man comes, will he come as a result of prayer, prayer brought on by faith? Because you see, the genesis of intentional prayer is faith. Therefore, where there is prayer there already has to be faith; even if we are unaware of it.
We can have faith and yet not pray. But if we pray it is evident that we believe, and therefore have faith. And it is through that very faith that we pray. Jesus wants to know if we will have faith when he comes- when he comes to answer our prayers. You are people of faith. Therefore, pray, and pray always.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John