Homily by Father Paul
Had she been a baseball player, the widow in Jesus’ parable would have been called out on strikes even before she came to bat. Strike one: she’s a woman. In Jesus day, women had no legal standing and very few rights. Strike two: she’s a widow. Any status she might have had disappeared with the death of her husband. Like any other woman of her time, she had no one to intercede for her before the judge. And strike three, the woman is poor. Her problem was a corrupt judge who was motivated by money and she had none to offer.
Let’s be clear about this. Jesus is not saying God is like the corrupt judge. The word “parable” means “to throw beside.” Jesus is throwing the unjust judge against the true image of God. Jesus is saying, “Look, if an unjust judge will give into persistence, how much more will God – who wants to help us – answer our prayers. So let’s see why we might admire the widow and follow her example. The widow in Jesus’ parable teaches us three important lessons.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. She had every reason to give up. She had three strikes against her. Even the Greek word for widow — cheria — meant “empty” or “forsaken.” …………….. But she refused to play the victim and never gave up on herself. She had a sense of her self-worth and spoke out on her own behalf. Don’t give up on yourself.
Next, DON’T GIVE UP ON OTHERS. As unfeeling and corrupt as this judge was, the widow did not give up on him. She was not going to give up nagging him until he gave in. …………….. It is all too easy for us to give up on others. But this parable challenges us to patient and persistent. How many times have we given up on someone? “He/she will/can never change.” “Don’t quit before the miracle!” is advice often heard in 12 Step Meetings. Some times, we give up on others too quickly.
Finally, DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD. Our first reading tells of a time when help was desperately needed God’s people. As long as Moses has his hands extended in prayer, God was able to assist. …………….. Moses did not quit when he grew tired, but let Aaron and Hur help him pray.
The widow in Jesus’ parable did not give up on God. Maybe that was why she did not stop believing in herself and others. Some people give up on themselves, others, and God, but not this widow. …………….. Neither should we give up.