THE CRY OF THOSE WHO SUFFER
The parable of the widow and the unscrupulous judge is, like many others, an open-ended story that can resonate differently in different listeners. According to Luke, it is a call to pray without getting weary. But it is also an invitation to trust that God will secure the rights of those who cry out to him day and night. What resonates in us today as we hear the dramatic story that reminds us of so many victims who are unjustly abandoned to their fate?
In biblical tradition, the widow is the symbol par excellence of a person who is isolated and defenseless. This woman has no husband or children to defend her. She has no one to rely on for support or references. She only has adversaries who abuse her and a judge without religion or conscience who does not care about anyone’s suffering.
What the woman asks for is not something that is merely an object of whim. She is only demanding justice. Her repeated and firm protest is this: Render a just decision for me. Her petition is the petition of all those who are unjustly oppressed. It is a cry that is along the lines of what Jesus said to his followers: Seek the kingdom of God and his justice.
It is true that God has the last word and will do justice for those who cry out to him day and night. This is the hope that Christ, raised up by the Father from an unjust death, has enkindled in us. But while this hour comes, the cry of those who keep shouting without anyone hearing them goes on.
For a great majority of humanity, life is an endless night of waiting. Religions preach salvation. Christianity proclaims the victory of God’s Love made flesh in Jesus crucified. Meanwhile, millions of human beings only experience their brothers’ hardness and God’s silence. And many times, we believers are the very ones who conceal the Father’s face, veiling it with our religious selfishness.
Why does our communication with God not make us listen at last to the clamor of those who suffer unjustly and cry out to us in thousands of ways: “Secure us our rights?” If, while praying, we truly meet God, how is it that we are not capable of listening with greater strength to the demands for justice that reach the very heart of the Father?
The parable questions all of us believers. Will we keep nourishing our private devotions, forgetful of those who are suffering? Will we continue praying to God in order to put God at the disposal of our own interests, without caring all that much about the injustices that exist in our world? And what if to pray were precisely to forget ourselves and seek with God a more just world for everyone?
October 16, 2016
29th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Luke 18, 1-8