“And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?'” (Luke 18:6b-7a)
In this week’s gospel reading Jesus presents a parable about persistence in prayer. A widow implores an unjust judge to grant her justice in her case. We must remember that widows in ancient times usually were on the bottom of the socio-economic scale, even in Jewish society despite the commands of the Mosaic law to show charity towards them and to protect them against injustice. The unjust judge who cared nothing mercy or compassion dismissed her at first but eventually granted her request to put an end to her unrelenting and annoying pleading.
Although authority figures in the parables usually represent God, that is not the case here. Jesus is commending the persistence of the woman, the devotion to her cause, not the unfeeling stubbornness of the judge. God is love. He extends compassion and kindness to all who come to Him in earnest prayer. Thus what Jesus is teaching us here is that we need to wrestle with God in prayer not because He owes us or we are entitled but because we are poor, weak and needy. We must wrestle with humility, passion and fervor until, like Jacob who wrestled with God, we receive our blessing. That blessing may not be in the form we think it should be but it is God’s perfect answer to us and we will rejoice in it.