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Saturday – Thirty-second Week – OT2
Readings: 3 Jn 5-8; Lk 18:1-8.
1/ First Reading: NAB 3 John 1:5 Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey. 7 For they have set out for the sake of the Name and are accepting nothing from the pagans. 8 Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.
2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 18:1 Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 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, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'” 6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 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? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh M. Tien, OP.
I. THEME: Loyalty in praying and doing good deeds
Many of today people, when they do something, they want to have immediate results. Some students want to study a major which pays lots of money though they have no ability in that major. Some want to invest in a stock that gives a high return even they know there is a risk to lose everything they have. This attitude are also extended to people’s relationship with others. They have no patience to correct themselves and to forgive others; they quickly decide to divorce after a few times of having different opinions. There is a similar attitude in people’s relationship with God. After a few times of praying and didn’t get what they want or being tested in suffering, they lost their faith in God and terminated their relationship with Him. In a word, they forget that everything has its own time, and the successor is the one who knows how to be patiently wait and to overcome difficuties in order to reach his goal.
Today readings give us some examples about loyalty. In the first reading, St. John advised his faithful to be loyal in helping strangers, especially the missionaries who sacrificed everything to preach the Good New. In the Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples to be loyal in praying through the story of an unrighteous judge and a perservere widow.
1/ Reading I: Be loyal in doing charitable works.
1.1/ The duty to help others: Loving God isn’t only about words, but must be expressed in deeds which one does for others; since whatever good deeds one does to others, one does to God; and the reverse is also true (Cf. Mt 25). Therefore, the faithful have a duty to help all people, especially the unfortunate and the one in need. St. John advised Gaius, one of his companions: “Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers.”
Charitable works help people to recognize God’s love and believe in Him, as Jesus said to his disciples, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). Mother Therese of Calcutta brought many people to God through her charitable works for the poor everywhere in the world, especially in India. St. John also reported the witness’ words who received help from Gaius, “They have testified to your love before the church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.”
1.2/ The duty to help the missionaries: Since they want all people to believe in Christ, all missionaries sacrificed everything for the preaching of the Gospel. How can they find money for transportation and living in a foreign country? They can’t work to earn a living for them because if they want to work, they have to stay back in their country to earn their living. The duty to preach the Gospel isn’t only for them, but for all the faithful. Therefore, some contribute their money, others contribute their effort; together all can contribute in spreading of the Gospel to all places. St. John advised his faithful, “For they have set out for the sake of the Name and are accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.”
2/ Gospel: Loyalty in praying
2.1/ The unrighteous judge and the persevere widow: Jesus told his disciple a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
(1) The unrighteous judge: did not revere God and pay respect to anyone, to say nothing of a poor widow. For a long time, he didn’t pay attention to her request; but at last he thought: “Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.”
(2) The persevere widow: She had no one to rely on; therefore, she is easily become a prey for wicked people. This widow kept coming to him and saying, “Vindicate me against my adversary.” Being rejected many times by the judge, but she was not losing heart and determined to ask until she got the result.
2.2/ God loves His people: Jesus compared that unrighteous judge with his Father, and he guaranteed a reply: “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.” However, this is not meant God will give to people whatever they ask, because:
– People can ask what are not good for them: People can not forsee the future; therefore, they don’t know the result of what they ask for. For example, asking to win a lottery can lead to the separation of one’s family, or asking to have power can lead one to death.
– People can ask what are not good for others: For example, asking for their enemy to be destroyed. They forget that the enemy is also God’s child.
The best way to ask is to let God deciding what will benefit us and others. There is a story about a king who would like to divide his inheritance to his children. To teach his children a lesson, the king put the most valuable gifts in the bad looking boxes and the fair gifts in the good looking boxes. When it was the turn of his youngest prince, he hesitated for a while then told his father: “I don’t know how to choose, may you help me to choose.” The king chose the most valuable one for his youngest son.
Then Jesus said: “Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” The faith in Christ is the most expensive gift God has given to people; but to protect and to develop it are people’s duty. To make it grow, suffering cannot be lacking. If people did not get what they ask, they must be perservered until they get what they desire.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must have patience to wait and courage to overcome obstacles in life in order to be successful in what we set out to do.
– We must be loyal in doing good deeds for others, especially in helping the missionaries so that God’s kingdom shall be extended to all.
– We must be persevered in praying and asking a favor. God can test our faith by not granting it right away so we have time to recognize the value of what we ask for. He could give us other blessing which is better if He sees the thing we ask doesn’t benefit us in a long run.