Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Points to note
This Sunday’s reading is a parable that can be a little abstract for children. Sometimes, it can be a little abstract even for us adults. As usual, we will try to reduce it to simple terms that children experience. For instance, we use examples in the children’s domestic lives. We should be careful, however, that the examples we use are not interpreted in a way that encourages the children to persevere in pestering their parents in a negative way.
Acclamation before the Gospel
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
son that we can see what hope his call holds for us.
The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. “There was a judge in a certain town,” he said, “who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘I want justice from you against my enemy!’ For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God and nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”
And the Lord said, “You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
How many of you have younger brothers or sisters? Have you noticed the way they ask things from Mom and Dad? They keep asking and asking until Mom and Dad agrees to give it to them. It should be interesting that children will be quicker to claim that younger siblings unfairly get things because they are persistent. Be careful that this does not become a grouse session and that we do not convey the impression that this is acceptable.
Explain the meaning of the words, persistence and perseverance. Explain how we use them, in language and the context that it is used. Older children may be able to differentiate between persistence and pestering. Persistence is when we do it while pestering is when someone else gets something unfairly simply because they are persistent.
What is your record for the longest you have to ask before you finally get what you want? Is it easier to be persistent if you get what you want quickly?
Go back to the reading. Note how Jesus explains the concept of persistence. Ask if the children have encountered any examples of such persistence where the person persisting is asking for something someone else unreasonably but will not give. There should be examples at home and in school. There are also examples of people who persist in fighting for freedom: Gandhi, Mandela, Aung San Su Kyi.
Translate these into our spiritual lives. How do we persist in our spiritual lives? When we ask for things from God, we constantly pray to him. Care should be taken that we do not convey the impression that God is someone unreasonable whom we have to keep bugging to get what we want.
Some people say that if we pray hard enough, God will give us what we want and we do not get what we want when we ask God because we did not pray hard enough. Do we agree with that? Explain that it is not how hard we pray but also that what we pray for must be something good. Therefore, we must be persistent in wanting the right thing.
Also, in praying, we don’t just ask God for things. We also make sure that we live good lives. It is of no use if we pray to God everyday but do not behave as good Christians do. Therefore, we must be persistent in living good lives because our lives are also a part of our prayers.
Most important of all, we pray to trust God. We leave it in his hands that he knows best what is good for us. So, we pray for the calm to accept his will. I find it odd that people pray for their exam results on the way to school to pick it up. The results are already printed and are they expecting God to change the pattern of ink on the paper from an F to an A? Or should they be praying to be able to accept whatever results God has set up for them and to take it as a lesson in their life.