On this 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have two paired Scriptures. The Hebrew Scripture describes Moses with hands outstretched in prayer as his forces engage an enemy. When his arms get tired and he lowers them, the Hebrews begin losing the battle. So his assistants prop them up. The Gospel presents us with a widow who must persist in pestering a judge until he finally hears her case. Luke, our evangelist, tells us the intent of this parable: We must pray without becoming weary — like Moses did, like the persistent petitioning widow. It is hard to wait for answers to prayers, and sometimes we decide “what’s the use?”. Consider, though, that we often ask for something very specific right now. But perhaps the time is not right, or there is not the readiness on our part to benefit from what we are asking, or perhaps another better outcome might be in the future. Sometimes our specific prayers don’t give God much freedom to bring the best outcome to us. I seem to remember a country song about unanswered prayers! A non-answer from God might be just the answer that leads to something we never expected. For me, several times I did not get jobs I wanted and was praying for, but each time that led to another opportunity which was fantastic. Can you think of examples for yourself? Yes, we need to persist in praying for what we want, but perhaps also with openness to God’s plan for us, and with the humility to know we might actually not know what that is!
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; artwork by Albrecht Dürer – Praying Hands, 1508