How often does Jesus in Luke's gospel use an outsider, a helpless person, or those looked down upon by society to make his point; for example, Samaritans, children, a poor sick Lazarus, a blind beggar, lepers, and tax collectors? In today's Gospel we encounter a widow who, in that day and age, had no legal or social standing, and she teaches the disciples and us about perseverance in prayer.
Perseverance in prayer demands a whole different mindset. It means recognizing that our personal efforts by themselves are not enough, and our basis for security is primarily found in God and not in ourselves. Perseverance in prayer reveals a trust in God who will not abandon or ignore those who entrust themselves to God's power, care, and mercy.
The widow teaches us another important lesson. Notice her persistence is about justice, that is, seeking a proper and right ordering of things, not to win a million shekels. This distinguishes it from nagging and whining. Even God doesn't like to be nagged and grows impatient with people who whine. Further we are not to become discouraged in this search for justice when there is a delay and when a sense of despair or disappointment threatens to overwhelm us. Someone once remarked that God gives three types of answer to our prayers: yes, no, and wait. While we don't like to hear "no", it seems "wait" is even a more difficult response for most of us. People enamored with twitter, text messages, and ever-faster computers are not very good at waiting. But with persistence and perseverance there must also be patience. That is the hard work of prayer: the 3 "p's": perseverance, persistence, patience.
-Fr Sas excerpts from October 20 Homily
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C