November 18, 2023 –
Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

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Luke 18:1-8

“But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

In the first verse of today’s Gospel passage, St. Luke the Evangelist is unusually direct in explaining the exact meaning of Jesus’ parable.  “Jesus told His disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”  It is important to note that this parable is about one specific type of prayer to God:  prayer of petition.

Sometimes prayer is defined as “a conversation with God”.  That’s unfair to God for two reasons.  First, conversations normally take place between two persons of more or less equal standing.  While it’s true that prayer involves a dialogue with God, we have to keep in mind that what He has to say to each of us is far more important than what any of us might wish to say to Him.  In prayer, it’s far more important to listen to God than to speak to Him.

Second, prayer at its summit transcends what could be termed a conversation.  The form of prayer in which the believer and God dialogue is meant to be surpassed.  Dialogue is meant to lead to a loving silence, a form of prayer in which God and the believer rest in the goodness of His presence.  Dialogue or conversation gets us there, where God gives us the gift of contemplation.

Nonetheless, in today’s Gospel passage Jesus teaches us about prayers of petition.  Petition is one specific form that prayer takes during the “conversational” stages of prayer.  In this stage, however, we pray not only with God’s almighty Power in mind (because He can get us what we want), but also with His providential Love in mind.  That is to say, God answers our prayers of petition not only for our own good, but for His goodness as well, so as to lead us into that goodness.