One of the common technique of understanding and personalizing a Biblical text is by, what could be called as the ‘Method of Assuming a Character”.
One puts oneself in the shoes of one of the characters in the Biblical passage and draws reflections and thoughts for one’s spiritual growth.
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son…
>> One could assume the character of the Younger Son…and identify as one having gone away from God.
>> One could assume the character of the Father….and identify as one who longs for the return of those lost and those gone away from us.
>> One could assume the character of the Elder Son….and identify as one who gets irritated and even angry at the “apparently unjust” side of God’s love of being overly merciful!
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan…
>> One could assume the character of the injured man….and identify as one who is beaten up and lying helpless, seeking for assistance
>> One could assume the character of the thieves….and identify as one who sometimes engages in “not so good” activities and thus harming the lives of others
> One could assume the character of the Levite or the Priest….and identify as one who fails to set right the priorities in life.
>> One could assume the character of the Good Samaritan….and identify as one who reaches out to people in their dire need.
>> One could assume the character of the inn-keeper….and identify as one who remains generous in allowing the injured man in the inn, despite a possible loss of money.
The Gospel of the Day is the Parable of the Persistent Widow.
For our reflection, we shall use the similar Method of “Assuming a Character”.
The Parable speaks of a judge and a widow.
The judge is characterized by some features:
>> He did not fear God.
>> He did not fear humans.
He was initially adamant in his refusal.
The Widow is characterized by some features:
>> She had a genuine need.
>> She was denied justice.
She remained persistent till the end.
In our usual understanding, we assume the character of the Widow and God as the Judge and draw some of the following conclusions:
We are often in many and true needs.
>> But we often, find ourselves, a bit depressed at the delays in receiving the answers to our prayers.
The parable encourages and exhorts us to remain persistent in our prayer life and not to get discouraged by God’s delays, which apparently appears as God’s denials.
>> Yes, God’s delays are certainly not His denials!
… God’s pauses are certainly not His refuses!
But for a change, for our reflection, we shall try to reverse our roles…
Let US assume the role of the JUDGE…
… and GOD as the WIDOW!
>> Me as the Judge?
>> God as the Widow?
Widows in the first century found themselves at a very sad state.
They were quite literally unprotected.
>> Many became homeless and destitute after the death of their husbands.
Often they were at mercy of cunning men, including some religious leaders who would “devour widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40)
A widow couldn’t count on anyone to come to her aid.
>> She represents the hopeless….the unaided…the oppressed.
In Mt 25:35, Jesus identifies Himself with the one who was hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger and the imprisoned.
>> Jesus in the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger and the imprisoned…. is the hopeless one…the unaided one… the oppressed one.
Jesus, like the widow in the Parable…comes knocking at our door…
… “Behold I stand at the door, and knock… “(Rev 3:20)
As the oppressed and justice-deprived widow, Jesus, knocks at our door – we the Judges.
What is our reaction and response?
The cry of the one in pain and suffering reaches our hearts…
>> Do I reach out my heart to them and seek to ease their troubles and hardships?
The moaning of a broken family or a lost teenager or a spoilt child comes to us…
>> Do I pray for them and help them, in ways possible for me?
The sad tear of the abused or oppressed people with whom we work is seen by us…
>> Do I get out of my comfort-shell to make them feel comforted and consoled?
The disturbing reports of violence, corruption, injustice in the society falls on our senses…
>> Do I remain indifferent to them and become saturated with such atrocities?
Yes…the widow – the hopeless, the unaided and the oppressed one… keeps knocking at our doors…
>> As a Judge…do I keep refusing?…do I keep getting irritated?…do I feel life as a botheration?
The Parable of the Persistent Widow is certainly a big lesson to remain firm and perseverant in our prayer life.
>> But this parable, when looked from another perspective, is also a big challenge to become a people who reach out in justice and give comfort and consolation to the needy.
>> Do we hear the knock, seeking for help?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Make yourself a seller when you are buying and a buyer when you are selling…
… and then you will sell and buy justly!”