One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

November 15, 2008

For Saturday of the Thirty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 18:1-8

The Gospel today begins by giving the punch line before telling the parable.
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

Jesus then tells the parable, and it is indeed about the need to pray without letting up.
However, at the end he adds a punch line different from the first one.
But when the Son of Man comes,
will he find faith on earth?

That question is not about finding PRAYER on earth, but about finding FAITH on earth when the Son of Man returns.
Put together, the meaning of the parable’s two punch lines would be that those who do not pray relentlessly do not have faith.
The Word of the Lord says faith without works is dead [James 2:17,26].
Today in his Gospel, the Lord upholds that faith without constant and tireless prayer is dead faith.
But when the Son of Man comes,
will he find faith on earth?

When the Son of Man comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead, he will want to find faith, prayer, and good works.
The punch lines today would seem to tell us GOD’S demands, GOD’S expectations.
However, the parable itself is about making known OUR expectations, OUR demands, like a widow hounding a judge for justice against her adversary.
The Hebrew word “satan” means literally “adversary.”
Although the written Gospel is Greek, Jesus and his disciples were Hebrews.
For them, this parable is also about praying to God for one’s rights and justice against Satan.
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.

So, we have here: relentless FAITH, relentless PRAYER, relentless GOOD WORKS, and RELENTLESS BATTLE AGAINST SATAN.
That describes the Christian life, and it describes Christ himself.
Suppose that when the Son of Man returns he does find in us FAITH— and PRAYER and GOOD WORKS and RESISTANCE TO SATAN.
What then?
In the Gospel today Jesus says God “will secure the rights of his chosen ones,” and “see to it that justice is done for them.”
What rights and what justice belong to God’s chosen ones?
Those we had in the beginning, before we fell to the lies of Satan.
Peace with God, oneness with God, life with God, joy with God, delight with God!
In fact, “delight” is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word “eden.”
All our human desires come from the delight of Paradise with God.
The bad thing about our desires is not our desires.
The bad thing is that the first sin introduced disorders into our desires.
It is the disorders not the desires that violate our rights and justice.
When we pray, we need— we thoroughly need— to expose relentlessly all our desires to God, because in the end, when the Son of Man returns for his faithful ones, God will fulfill all their desires by putting them back into right and just order.
Peace with God, oneness with God, life with God, joy with God, delight with God!
Or, as the angelic army sang it over Bethlehem, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his goodwill rests!”
A lifetime of relentless prayer begins to open itself up for the fulfillment of all of that.
The Eucharist is the sign and instrument of God’s covenant or committed openness to our fulfillment.
However, we must receive the Eucharist as the sign and instrument of OUR committed openness to our fulfillment as God would have it.

That God Be Glorified in All