Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. (Lk. 18:1-18)
In my faith journey, I have seen the Bible as the story of God's love for His children. While God desires us to be one with Him and each other, we are endowed with free will.
It is our free will that allows us to choose to move closer to God or distance ourselves from Him through our actions and relationship with Him.
The Bible illustrates our creation, fall from grace, and God's continued desire for redemption through faith in Him and His promise of eternal life with Him.
As a collective, this sage extends across the ages for all of the children of God. However, this same journey is evident across one's individual life and faith journey. So it is that the Bible is provided to us as a guide, support, and tool to practice our faith and grow our relationship with God. Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks to the formation of faith and the necessity of accepting God's omniscience and not our own understanding. Genesis 18:26-33 addresses the redemptive nature of faith in the account of the city of Sodom. Matthew 17:20 emphasizes God's omnipotence and the power of faith, even as minute as a mustard seed in one's life. Finally, James 2:26 ensures that faith without action is dead and that we must be active in our relationship with God to truly express our faith.
In the gospel reading, Luke 18:1-8 Jesus shares with the disciples the parable of the persistent woman to illuminate the need (and benefit) to pray unceasingly and without becoming weary. The parable is indicative of the practice and power of prayer. However, additionally, Jesus speaks to not losing faith through the trials of life and concludes with the ultimate question of faith, that of eternal salvation. Every life will be fraught with many apparent injustices, life-altering disappointments, and multiple significant losses. What remains paramount is one's faith and the repose of their soul.
Throughout my life, I have distinctly felt myself moving into and away from God's grace and the comfort it provides. In my early life, my first crisis of faith occurred at the age of eleven when my family was fragmented, separating me from my mother and siblings. The cold, stark reality of this separation marks my life as a seminal event. Initially, the pain and challenges of this familial stressor caused me to question God and His benevolence. It was only through years of prayer and strengthening through practice that I could again find comfort in my faith.
In my young adult years, I again faced a significant disappointment when my spouse and I experienced a late-term miscarriage. The reality of the loss of life and the pain of losing all the wonderful possibilities of that life was nearly unbearable. While this loss remains with me, prayer made me more steadfast in faith and less distant from God while healing.
As a seasoned adult, I experienced my father's passing on my birthday. With this life's trial, I allowed my faith and prayer to focus on not what I had lost but what my father had gained. This time I remained fully in God's grace rather than moving away from Him and maintained a faith that gave me a perspective of triumph, not defeat.
I thank God for His constant interception and pray that my journey and maturation of faith affords me to be found favorable on Christ's return as God intended.
"... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lk. 18:18).
James E. Callahan III (Licensed Psychologist – Retired)
Founder and Director of the Kabara Program
Callahan – Applied Behavioral Consulting
Knights of Peter Claver Inc.
Deputy of Central States
St. Vincent de Paul Council #5
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church – Diocese of Nashville