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Mass prep – 3 points/30 seconds: Prayer like a black eye

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Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 10/15/22

The original Greek regarding the widow and the dishonest judges gives a good insight to prayer.

The Gospel for this Sunday is Lk 18:1-8

1.               Introduction

How should we pray? What is essential during our prayer? Why do we pray? What are the fruits of prayer? These are just some of the questions people ask themselves.

In today’s verses of the Gospel, Jesus explains what prayer should be like. He uses a very powerful example. 

2.               Key words

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

The word “necessity” in Greek is “dei.” It literally means a “need” to fulfill God’s plan. There is no other option; without our prayer we will not fulfill God’s will.  

Jesus furthermore urges the disciples to pray always “without becoming weary.” The Greek term used in this place, “me enkakein,” may be translated as “never give up.” 

There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’

The judge’s change of heart was due to the fact that the “widow kept bothering” him. The term in the Greek original reads “hypopiadzo,” which literally means “to give someone a black eye.” That very verb is used in the image of boxing in the 1st Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (chapter 9, verse 27) — “but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”

It is hardly a coincidence that Jesus uses this word in the context of prayer. To “give someone a black eye,” you need to be very close to him. Similarly, during prayer one needs to be close to God. He is physically present in our churches or chapels in the Blessed Sacrament.  

Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

If the dishonest judge rendered a just decision for the widow, how much more will God, who is pure love, offer his protection to those who turn to him for help in prayer. 

3.     Today

What is my image of God? Do I believe that God cares about me and is attentive to my prayer? Is my prayer a conversation with a loving God? Do I try to be with him in church or chapel, where he is physically present in the Blessed Sacrament? 

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