Our first reading and the gospel passage reinforce one another. But the two settings couldn’t be more different.
In the first reading, the people of Israel are on their journey to the Promised Land. Moses needs God’s help to defeat one of Israel’s implacable enemies. But he also needs the help of others. It’s a powerful symbol that calling upon God does not preclude our reliance on the community of faith to support our prayers.
In the gospel, we meet a poor widow. In the bible, a widow almost always symbolizes a powerless person. The harsh economic realities of the time made the symbolism obvious to all. Jesus tells the story of such a widow, whose only chance for survival is to appeal to a power that is utterly beyond her influence or control. She can rely only on her unrelenting persistence. For Jesus, her behavior stands as a symbol for the role of faith in approaching God when we pray for what we need. Jesus contrasts the unjust judge with the compassion of a loving God towards us.
Our second reading is a beautiful reminder of the central place of Sacred Scripture in our life of faith. Proclaiming the Word God is a fundamental duty that must characterize everything the Church does and the way we spend our own efforts in our place in the world.
—Walter Modrys SJ
This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.
The New York Times article that Fr. Modrys references, Apocalypse, Now What? by Matthew Thompson, can be found here at nytimes.com.