This Reflection was taken from the Sunday Mass Readings of Oct. 20, 2013:
I got a kick out of today’s Gospel, where the disrespectful judge gives the widow what she wants just to shut her up. I have little doubt that Jesus was smiling when he gave that parable.
People do that–give others what they want to make them shut up–all the time. They are usually people who don’t really care about those aforementioned “others.” Sometimes, these people won’t even give others what they want–they’ll only say that they will, so that they won’t have to keep hearing from those bothersome, needy correspondences of theirs who refuse to stop asking them for things.
The judge in the parable at least went through with what he said he’d do. He gave the lady what she was asking for, and he gave her something that was supposedly just. He did the right thing for the wrong reason.
As I said earlier, there are many people who will do what we ask for the wrong reason; however, how do they know that what they’re giving is actually just? Do they really care? We ask them for something–something that may indeed be just–and they might a.) not give it to us, b.) give it to us even if they don’t believe it to be right, or c.) give it to us so that we’ll be quiet about it–or some combination thereof. How often are we guilty of such things? Those are only examples. There are also many people who will only give things that they feel are right, and will give it for reasons other than shutting up their peers (a selection of individuals which hopefully includes us Christians).
God knows all that is just, and all that is best for us. The only things he’ll grow tired of hearing us talk about are the things that are bad for us; and unlike some people, he’s not going to give in and let us have those bad things, merely so we’ll stop whining about them. Why not? He’s all-powerful–why would he rather bother himself with putting up with our loud complaints? He does it because he cares about us.
There are human beings who care about us, too–those who try to do what they feel is best for us. Sometimes, that includes putting up with us and listening to us throw fits when we don’t get what we want. When people do this great favor for us, how often do we thank them for it? How often does the concept of thanks even enter our minds?
It’s bad enough when we aren’t grateful to the people around us, who try to do what’s best for us while they can’t always know what’s best for us. God’s another matter altogether. He does know what’s best for us. He also loves us–more than any humans ever could, no matter how hard they try. He loves us with a love like unto his own power–an infinite love.
So not only does God know every facet of justice–a concept we almost constantly seek, for ourselves and sometimes for others–but he also knows what’s best for our souls. We don’t have to beg him for good things to get him to give them; all we need to do is have faith. We can ask him for good things, obviously, but we must strive to be faithful rather than greedy (although, if we’re going to be greedy about acquiring something, the gifts of God are our best bet; there’s no number to them, they’re all good for us, and he wants what’s truly best for us). By greedy (in the sense used prior to the previous pair of parentheses) I was referring more to asking for what we want, rather than what God thinks is best for us. By asking for the latter, however, and being ready to accept it when he gives it to us, we are being faithful to his will; and it is God’s will–not our own, unless it’s in accord with his–that will make us happy over the course of eternity.
Another point I want to note–don’t fall asleep, this reflection won’t take much longer–is what St. Paul says to Timothy in the Second Reading: “…proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, encourage, reprimand through all patience and teaching.” St. Paul, who lived back in the days when you could be physically killed for your beliefs, knew full well just how “inconvenient” it could be to proclaim the Word of God. Yet he was so faithful to the Lord, that he was willing to put his life on the line to do God’s will of bringing his fellow citizens to salvation of the truth. Today, we have the luxury of not having to worry about getting beheaded for our beliefs; rather, we live in a world–at least, a country–where many people view general consensus, and whether they fit into it, as the equivalent of life or death. They don’t want to “offend” people, and they most certainly don’t want to “look bad” to, and as a result be ousted by, people. Therefore, they will stifle their personal beliefs and watch their contemporaries continue sinning and doing wrong, because it’s easier.
When we make such decisions as withholding God’s truths so that people will be better disposed toward us, we are not doing ourselves any favors. An easier path in this world is more likely to mean a harder one in the next; likewise, a sinful life will mean a sorrowful afterlife. We not only fail God when we ignore opportunities to share his truths with others, but we also fail those of our friends who have not yet come to him. If they go on sinning, and never try to become close to God, what hope do they have? If we really care about them, isn’t trying to give them the hope of salvation more important than trying to make them happy with us?
If we truly believe in God, and we truly believe in Heaven and eternity, then there should be nothing stopping us from proclaiming his Word. The people of today can’t end our physical lives for our beliefs’ and the only way they can they kill our spirits is if we allow them to. If we truly believe in God’s love, appreciate it, and want to pass it on to others, then we must relinquish ourselves unto the Lord, and be willing to make his eternal plan our own.
by Cameron Daly