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Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

19 October 2019

Reflecting on Lk. 18: 1-8

That poor widow. She didn’t have enough money to bribe the judge. You’d think she would have put something away in her emergency fund for that line item. Fortunately, God’s mercy is greater than that of any judge.

Now, this particular judge cares nothing for God nor human. He turns a blind eye to despair and horrific human rights abuses. He’s rendered the “dishonest” judge, which suggests that his justice can be bought for the right price. However, she figures out how to wear him down. She simply stations herself at his courtroom door and doesn’t budge until he does.

It’s kind of the opposite of what we view as good parenting. The virtuous parent cannot be cajoled or beat down by the constant begging and temper tantrums of a strong-willed child. In the standoff between what the child wants and what’s good for the child, the wisdom of the good parent prevails.

But in this case it’s the strong-willed widow who will not be moved, and she represents us as we go before God in prayer. But is God the unfeeling, stone-cold judge who can only be forced to give justice when utterly worn down?

I love this more contemporary way into this parable: God is the stubborn widow, unrelenting and undaunted, pounding on the doors of our hearts to force US to open, US to give shelter, US to give warm nurture to the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in the land (Deut. 10:18).

In this interpretation, God is demanding justice of US. That’s scary. I know I’m incapable of any action that could level the playing field in my little world, am I? Hmm. Now who’s the dishonest judge?

If God is the widow and you are the judge, what action is God asking of you?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Ordinary Time - Cycle C

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