Every time I hear this week’s gospel I smile because it reminds me of someone in my life who is very dear to me. The passage reminds me of this person because when I hear it, the phrase that comes to mind is: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. To say this person who I am referring to is persistent is like saying it can get a little chilly here in January (lol). But when we take a deeper look at this text it can lead us to a place of having to answer some difficult questions. With our federal election only a day away, this reading is very timely.
In our story today, we hear of a widow and an unjust judge. Abject poverty versus ultimate power you might say. In the time of Jesus, women were thought of as property and if that weren’t bad enough, to be a widow moved you even further down the social scale. The fact that she even got an audience with the judge is a minor miracle, let alone several chances to plead her case. In the end, the judge gave in and she was granted justice.
Unfortunately, this does not always play out this way in our world today. We have many people among us who are outcast from mainstream society. The poor, the disabled, the homeless, the addict, the single mother, the widow. Often times, these people are barely tolerated, let alone accepted and integrated into our lives. There are no politicians coming to have photo-ops with them while they have lunch and discuss the issues that really matter. There is not much chance of them getting an audience with one of our elected officials so they can tell their story (plead their case) and hopefully better their situation. There is not much time in our leader’s debates set aside for feeding the hungry and visiting the prisoner.
Having said that, we cannot let ourselves as church off the hook. Are we Ok with some of our collection money going to help the less fortunate among us? Often times, the same people again and again. How do we feel about our offerings being used as part of the reconciliation process with victims of abuse? Are we so inner-focused that most of our resources go toward maintenance and very little toward mission? These are questions that each person will have to answer for themselves and each faith community.
In our gospel this week, we are told that the judge “neither feared God nor had respect for any human being”. I wonder if those two facts are linked? In spite of this, the judge eventually decided to do the right thing and grant the widow justice. I like to believe that we as church have a great love for God, and thus a great love for God’s people. We have a need to share with those less fortunate. We do not have to be asked several times before we are moved to action to make things right. In the final question in today’s gospel Jesus asks;” when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” In our response, it will be our actions that will speak volumes over our words.