THE SERVANT GENERAL
gospel: Luke 18:1-8
look at the parable about the persistent widow and the dishonest
judge. This parable has been taken as the call to persistence
in prayer. Rightly so. But some think that with persistence
in prayer, God will then grant whatever we pray for. Not so.
Especially as we oftentimes pray for the wrong things, things
that might actually end up harming our spiritual lives.
seemingly odd and out-of-place aspect of this parable is the
last verse. “But when the Son of Man comes, will he
find faith on earth?” (v.8b). Now where did that come
from? What is the connection to the rest of the parable? Is
this sentence misplaced? It actually all comes together.
speaks about the urgency of the times. This is especially
true today. We are losing Catholics by the day, Christianity
in many First World countries is either practically gone or
severely threatened, the darkness spread by the evil one deepens
and the tsunami of evil is overwhelming the whole world. If
such trends continue, then indeed will there be faith on earth
when Jesus returns? Will there be just a small flock that
will be saved?
is not God’s will. Jesus came in order to save all
humankind. How can that happen now? We need to do the work
of evangelization, to bring people including lapsed Catholics
back to God and back to the Church, and to do so with great
urgency, because we are already in the end times.
what is the power behind effective evangelization? It is prayer.
All Christians must pray each and every day, including reading
the Bible. Prayer connects us with God. Prayer allows God
to grant us the wisdom that is needed in order to know His
will. Prayer unleashes the anointing and empowerment that
comes from the Holy Spirit by which we can be effective witnesses.
Prayer keeps us under the protective mantle of our Lord and
that is daily, persistent and fervent, keeps us from falling
away, from being lured by the world, from giving in to our
sinful flesh, from being deceived by the devil. Prayer is
the foundation by which we can grow in holiness, in righteousness,
in being loving and merciful, in moving toward Christian perfection.
Thus persistent prayer is what will keep Christians fervent
in their faith, so that when the Son of Man returns, he will
find divine light shining amidst the darkness.
“the necessity for (us) to pray always without becoming
weary” (v.1). This is prayer that is not self-referential,
that is full of trust and hope in God, that is humble and
sincere, that seeks nothing but to gaze upon the face of Jesus.
Then God can give us what He has always wanted to give us
as His beloved childrenpeace, joy, sufficient goods,
a loving family, effective service, and ultimately eternal
life. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen
ones who call out to him day and night?” (v.7a).
times we do pray, but mechanically. Or we pray intently only
because we are facing a severe crisis. Then we get frustrated
or angry or even turn away from God when He does not answer
us according to how we want to be answered. That is not the
right way to pray. For what we need, God already knows that
and will give us what we need even if we do not ask. “Your
Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Mt
6:8b). Rather, pray for Christian virtueshumility, mercy,
forgiveness, zeal for mission, etc. “Will he be slow
to answer them?” (v.7b).
did we not just say that God will provide what we truly need
even if we did not ask? Yes, but prayer has the purpose, as
we have seen above, of bringing us ever deeper in our relationship
with God. And when we ask for the things that God already
wants to give us, we become even more conscious of what true
Christian virtues are. Our spiritual growth requires our cooperation
with the abundant grace of God. We need to act. To be able
to act rightly, we need to be aware of what God wills for
us to become. We need to desire a virtuous life. Persistent
prayer manifests these.
is giving a person what is his due. We have been saved by
Jesus and our call is to holiness and Christian perfection.
This is what God desires for us, and what God in His infinite
love and mercy “owes” to us. “I tell you,
he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”
holiness, zeal for mission. That is the winning combination!
Then will the Son of Man, on his glorious return at the end
of time, find abundant faith on earth.
(This article is taken from my new upcoming book, “What
is New About the New Evangelization?”)