MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on persistence in prayer and what being ardently faithful is.  Is God like an unjust judge? Do we see God’s answers to prayer around us? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time to find out. Please read Luke 18:1-8. #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #AutoRepair

For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday,   10/20/2013  The 29th   Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read Luke 18:1-8.
    When I worked in an auto repair shop in my early twenties, we had a category of customer that we would designate as LNBW on the invoice.  They were people who insisted over and over again that there was something wrong with their car even though nothing diagnostically would show up.  They would come repeatedly and ask that the issue be taken care of even though there was nothing wrong with the car.  The owner told me that for years he wouldn’t charge them, but tell them he found nothing.  But then these customers would begin to crowd the schedule and leave no room for customers who actually did have something wrong with their car.
    Most of the time, the LNBW’s were people who were obnoxious about it all.  They would get dramatic at the front desk leaving everyone feeling a little embarrassed for them.  So, finally, one day, the owner came up with this code LNBW and would charge them $10.00 for raising the car up on the lift.  The LNBW’s would come in, see the charge, pay it and leave relieved that their vehicle had been repaired.  We wouldn’t see them again until there was something else we needed to check.
    Why did the owner put “LNBW” on the work order?  He said it stood for “Loose Nut Behind the Wheel”.  When the owner would come in, he would say, “I just had to tighten a loose nut and now you are good to go!”  Everyone was happy.
    The lesson I learned was the persistence pays.  I especially use this principle when I have to call AT&T or Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  I am persistent, keep records and am blunt and forthright until I get what I think is needed in my case.
    In the instance of the Gospel reading today, we have an unjust judge who decides to help a widow because she is persistent.  Seeing that we are in Israel and that Deuteronomy is pretty specific about how judges are to take care of widows this is a testimony to how unjust this judge is.  Widows were not the heirs of their husband’s estates.  The brother of the husband got everything.  Yet, the community was responsible for protecting the widows and caring for their needs.  Judges, officials of the government, were supposed to adjudicate these cases to ensure that the widow was cared for.  The Book of James calls the care of widows and orphans “true religion.”  So, knowing the law of God and the customs of Israel, it is clear that this judge did not “fear God nor men.”
    Yet, even this man, who possibly was waiting for a bribe to settle the case, wanted to decide for the widow just to get her out of his auto repair shop, so to speak.
    God is not an unjust judge.  That is not the point here.  The point is that if an unjust judge will give a widow something just to keep her from annoying him, then what will a God who loves us do for us who are persistent in prayer and those of us who have faith?  Maybe that is the point of the parable after all, do we have faith?  Do we believe it?
    What constitutes a person with faith?  Two weeks ago we showed that having just a little faith can move mulberry trees and mountains into the sea.  But, what constitutes having an abiding faith?  According to this passage, it is a persistent prayer life.  Prayer is communication with God.  It is a back and forth relationship.  We talk, God listens.  God talks, we listen.
    The person with whom we have this relationship is the God of the Universe who made the heavens and the earth.  He is the one who can raise people from the dead and heal the sick.  He can, but he doesn’t always.  He has reasons for why he does what he does, and often we cannot fathom them.  So, this question comes to Jesus, “when will the Kingdomof God come?” In other words, when will those of us who believe be delivered?
    Jesus’ answer is that you just might be being delivered and you can’t even see it.  God delivers, but he delivers according to his plan and his need.  Additionally, there are other things that come into play: people are selfish. People are evil.  We all know it.  That is why we are so cynical as a society.  God allows this evil because people need to be held accountable and will be judged for their actions in the end.  Yet, for those who are persistent in prayer, even when God’s gifts are messed up and thwarted by someone’s weakened will, God comes to our aid because we have a relationship with him.
    Those who pray to him, love him and honor him, can see his work.  I cannot tell you how often when I am with a mix of people and those who have faith wink at each other when those who do not are surprised that something good happened.  Those who trust God should expect something Good.
    So, I guess it is time for us to look around and ask, “Has God been speaking to me through someone and I have not been listening for him?”  Or, “has God been giving me something good, but I have been rejecting it?”  Or, “have I asked the Lord to take the things of my day and make them smooth or have I just not talked with him today?”
    Look.  Listen.  Love. Pray.  Look for the work of God around you.  Listen for his words from others in your life. Love him with all your heart.  Then, talk with him frequently throughout the day, that is called prayer.  “God will vindicate you speedily.”  Amen?  Amen.
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