SUNDAY OF THE JUDGE
“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city, there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” (Luke 18:1-8)
Today is the fifth Sunday of the Great Lent called “Sunday of the Judge”. This title is taken from the parable of the “Unjust Judge” as told by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 18:1-8)
St. Luke in his Gospel introduces the parable of the “Unjust Judge” by first telling us the meaning and the context of the parable: we must always pray and not lose heart. The circumstances around which Jesus tells this parable and the way St. Luke records the parable for his audience shows that the parable is directly connected to their reality where the audience had concerns in regard to prayer. Our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts His disciples to be steadfast in their prayer life and not to lose heart since a perseverant and steadfast prayer is not an easy task.
Perhaps for some, it is easy to pray, but the difficulty arises when they do not receive the answers to their prayers within their desired timeframe. When we pray for the healing of a loved one and no positive results are observable, we experience frustration. When we plead to God to deliver us from hardships, and then we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, it may feel as though water is poured on the flames of our prayers, hence, extinguishing that fire. Certainly, it is difficult and discouraging to pray when one is continually praying for righteousness to triumph, but in return, injustice persists. Nonetheless, the message of the parable is clear: “Do not lose heart! Do not despair!” The widow through her tenacity and persistence received the answer to her pleading even by the unjust judge.
The image of the unjust judge as depicted in the parable has no relation to God. Our Lord Jesus juxtaposes the unjust judge with God’s just character by stating, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.” (Luke 18:7)
Therefore, if in your life you come across “unjust judges,” do not lose heart and continue to pray. If you find yourself at a dead-end and you cannot see a way out, do not despair! Continue to knock on God’s door of justice and mercy. You ought to pray without losing heart. God has given us the commandment and the divine opportunity: “Ask and you shall receive.” (Matthew 7:7) In the way a loving parent knows and loves their children, our Heavenly Father answers our prayers according to His Holy Will at the right time and for our good.