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Fr. Tim’s Homily for October 16th, 2016

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

Weekend Three:  Annual Stewardship Commitment Sunday

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Exodus 17: 8-13 

2 Timothy 3: 14-4: 2

Luke 18: 1-8

 

This is our Annual Stewardship Renewal Commitment Sunday.  Thank you for being a part of this great opportunity for our Saint Joseph and Nativity Parish Families as we make our stewardship commitments together in the areas of time, talent and treasure for the next twelve months..

I know that many of you have brought your commitment cards with you today, all filled-out.  Thank you!  Others of you have already mailed in your commitment cards.  Thank you!

Perhaps you forgot to fill-out a card.  Well I am going to give you the opportunity to do so right here.  There are commitment cards and pencils in your pews.  The Saint Joseph cards are trimmed in blue on the cover and the Nativity cards are trimmed in gold.

You can use one card for all of the persons in your household – adults and young people.  Just write your first name next to the ministry that you are either “currently involved in” or that you are “interested in joining.”

At the time of the collection, we may all deposit our completed commitment cards in the basket along with our regular Offertory envelopes.

Since this Commitment Sunday is so important, if you have not already completed a card, I invite you to do so right now while I offer some thoughts about today’s Gospel.

A widow had lost her only son, and she was very upset with God.  One day she was pouring out her heart to one of her friends, and her friend remarked, “You know, I always wanted to have a son, but my husband and I were never blessed with children.”

And the widow said that her way of thinking was changed.  She was no longer upset with God.  Her payers became those of thanksgiving because she had had a wonderful son.

It is amazing what prayer can do for us – changing our ways of thinking, changing the ways that we feel.

So Jesus, in today’s Gospel, tells us a parable about the necessity of praying always and not growing weary, not losing heart.  He talks about a dishonest judge.  To get a fair judgment from this judge, a person needed to bribe him.  Judges like this were called “robber judges.”  They were described as “willing to pervert justice for a plate of meat.”

And then there was a widow who brought a matter to this judge.  She had no money with which to bribe him.  She had no social status to hold over his head.  But she had one thing in her favor:  she was persistent.  She went night and day to that judge asking for a settlement.

Finally, the judge said, “I’ve had it!  This woman is driving me berserk, so I’ll give her the settlement that she’s asking for lest she come into my office and give me a black eye.”

What is Jesus teaching us about prayer?  Notice:  the crooked judge is not like God at all.  This is a parable not of similarity but a parable of contrast.   If a dishonest judge is willing to give a just judgment because of someone’s persistence, how much more will our good and loving Father be willing to answer our prayers because He loves and cares for us?

We all have our catalogues of prayers that were answered.  We also have a list of the times we prayed but we didn’t get what we were asking for.  [I know that in my life that I am grateful to God that some of my prayers were not answered the way I was asking for.  It would have been a disaster!  And I’ll bet the same is true for you.]

But there are also times when we have prayed and God didn’t seem to give us any answer at all.  What are we to make of all of this?

One way we can approach that question is by looking at children.  Children ask for all kinds of things, don’t they?  [I can see by your nods and smiles that you know exactly what I am talking about.]

Imagine a child says to you, “May I have a brownie, please?”  And you answer, “Certainly you may.” The request was made and the request was answered right away.

The child may ask during dinner, “May I have a brownie, please?”  And you might respond, “You may, but only after you have finished your vegetables.”  The answer is yes, but not right at the moment.

The child may ask, “May I have a brownie, please?”  And you may respond, “No, you have already had three and I don’t want you to get sick.”  You said no, but not to be mean.  It is for the child’s well-being not to have four brownies in a row.

Now think of God the Father.  There are times that we ask – and God likes it when we ask – and sometimes we get an immediate answer.  There are other times and God is telling us, “Yes, but not just yet.”  Other times we ask God and God says no – not to be mean but out of love for us, or out of love for others.

You and I cannot see tomorrow with absolute precision, let alone next week, next month, next year.  But God sees the whole picture.  And if the unjust judge was willing to answer that woman’s request because of her persistence, how much more so is our loving God willing to hear us when we pray.

Remember, our heavenly Father loves it when we pray.  And so Jesus tells us a story to help us pray always and not grow weary, not lose heart.