This morning, during the Papal Audience in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis has made his catechesis on the Gospel parable about the unjust judge and the importunate widow. “It is not about – Bergoglio opened his speech – praying sometimes, when I feel like doing so. No, Jesus says that you should always pray and never get tired of it”.
He makes the example of the judge, “a powerful character, called to pass judgments based on the Law of Moses. That is the reason why the biblical tradition recommended that judges were God-fearing, trustworthy, impartial, and incorruptible people. It will be good for us to listen to this today too!” he has commented off the cuff. Whereas the judge in the parable “neither feared God nor had respect for anyone.” He was an unjust judge and a widow appealed to him for justice. Widows, orphans and foreigners were the weakest categories of the society because they were alone and had only a few rights: “A poor and lonely widow alone, with no one to defend her, they might have ignored her, the orphan, the stranger, and the migrant. The same! At that time, it was very strong… In front of the judge’s indifference, the widow resorts to her only weapon: insistently bother him, making her request for justice repeatedly. Her persistence allows her to reach the goal. In fact, the judge meets her request at a certain point not because mercy pushes him, or because his conscience compels him to do so; he simply admits: ‘because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'”
“Jesus draws a twofold conclusion from this parable: if the widow managed to bend even the unjust judge with her insistent requests, God, who is good and righteous Father, ‘will certainly avenge His own chosen, who cry day and night toward Him’; besides, He is not going to make them wait long, but will act promptly”. This is why Jesus urges us to pray “ceaselessly”, because, unlike the unjust judge, “God promptly fulfills His children’s requests, although it does not mean that it will the way we want it to happen and at the time we expect it. Prayer is not a magic wand! It is not a magic wand.”
“It helps to preserve our faith in God, to trust in Him even when we do not understand His will. In this, Jesus himself – who prayed so much! – gives us an example. When looming anguish makes Jesus pray the Father to deliver him from the bitter cup of passion, and His prayer is pervaded by trust in the Father and he trusts His will without restraint. The object of prayer is of secondary importance; what matters above all is his relationship with the Father. Here is what makes the prayer, it transforms our desire and shapes it according to the will of God, whatever it may be, because the one who prays aspires first of all to union with God, who is merciful love.”
“The parable closes with a question: ‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ – Francis says -. And with this question he warns all of us: we must not desist from prayer, even if it is not answered. ‘Prayer preserves faith, without it faith falters! Let us ask the Lord for faith that becomes unceasing prayer, persevering, like that of the widow in the parable, faith that is nourished by the desire of His coming. And in the prayer we experience God’s compassion, who comes as a Father full of merciful love to meet his children. Thank you!”
At the end of the General Papal Audience in Rome, Bergoglio has reminded that tomorrow will be the day of the traditional Corpus Christi procession: “At 7 p.m., I will celebrate Mass in St. John Lateran, and then we will worship the Blessed Sacrament walking to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. I invite those living in Rome and pilgrims to join us in this solemn public act of faith and love towards Jesus who is truly present in the Eucharist.” Finally, the Pope has reminded that “several terrorist attacks took place in Syria on Monday and hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed in them”. Then he said: “I urge everyone to pray, pray our merciful Father, pray Our Lady, that He may give eternal rest to those victims, consolation to their families, and that He may convert the hearts of the people who sow death and destruction. Let us pray Our Lady together: Hail Mary…”
“Esorto tutti a pregare, pregare il Padre misericordioso, pregare la Madonna, affinché doni il riposo eterno alle vittime, la consolazione ai familiari e converta il cuore di quanti seminano morte e distruzione. Tutti insieme preghiamo la Madonna: Ave Maria…”