Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

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Windows to Your Soul

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” Matthew 25:1–2

Our five senses can be said to be a window to our souls. With our senses we perceive the world around us, take it into our minds and heart, and engage it according to the decisions we make. Several of the Church Fathers say that the five wise virgins in today’s parable represent those who use their five senses in accord with God’s will, whereas the five foolish virgins are those who indulge their five senses in a life of sin.

Interestingly, Saint John of the Cross teaches that the highest form of communication with God takes place when our five senses are silenced and all that we have learned through them is darkened so that God can communicate to us in a direct and spiritual way. But until we reach that level of spiritual perfection, accomplished by various purifications of our soul, we must rely upon our senses as a source of knowledge, especially our knowledge of God.

With our eyes we are called to perceive the beauty of God’s presence within creation, especially in other people. With our ears we hear the Word of God proclaimed that then resonates within us, inspiring the gift of faith. Our senses of smell, taste and touch will also teach us in various ways, leading us either to the delights of the Kingdom of God, or to the indulgences of the fallen world.

If the five wise virgins represent the holy use of the five senses, then we must see the connection between them and the oil for their lamps. Many Church Fathers see the oil as a symbol of good works, or charity. Charity is necessary for the attainment of Heaven, for the meeting of the Bridegroom when He shows up at an unexpected time. The person who engages in charity is one who uses the natural gifts given by God for His glory. Their five senses are constantly seeking ways to glorify God and to accomplish His holy will.

The five senses can also easily lead us to the selfish pursuit of fleshly pleasures. When this happens, the oil of charity runs dry within us and we are unprepared for the moment of our death, when the Bridegroom returns.

Think about yourself being those wise or foolish virgins by considering how you use your five senses. What do you look at regularly with your eyes? Do you seek out the presence of God in our world? Do you see Him in the poor, the vulnerable, the lonely, and the needy? Or do you look at the many evils all around you and become infatuated with them, allowing yourself to be drawn into their practices?

With your ears, do you listen attentively to the Word of God? Or do you find yourself drawn to the world of gossip, detraction and other sinful words that are spoken? Do you indulge your senses of touch, smell and taste, choosing an excess of pleasure, becoming inordinately attached? Or do you strive for temperance and self-control, denying yourself unhealthy and sinful pleasures?

Reflect, today, upon the natural powers of your own soul, especially the gift of your five senses. As you do, examine the ways you use them, what you look at, listen to, and indulge in. Your senses are but a window to your soul and the first way through which God speaks to you and enters your heart. Keep guard of your senses, and only allow the good things of Heaven to enter in. Doing so will produce the oil of charity within and will enable you to be perpetually ready for the coming of our Lord.

Lord of perfect charity, You desire to speak to me and reveal Yourself to me in many ways. I pray that I will always perceive You with my eyes and ears, and use all of my five senses for Your glory. Please free me from every inordinate and unhealthy attachment so that I am free to completely attach myself to You. Jesus, I trust in You.

Giving Your Whole Livelihood

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Mark 12:41–42

If you were in charge of the Temple treasury, which would you prefer? The rich putting in large sums of money? Or one poor widow putting in two small coins? Of course, an honest answer to that question might be hard to give. Much good can be done with large sums of money, right? Wouldn’t it be better to accept more than a few cents? The dilemma one would experience in this situation reveals a misperception that we regularly encounter in life. Is more better than less? Is wealth better than poverty? Is success better than failure? It all depends upon the spiritual reality at hand.

Take, for example, success vs. failure. Say one person sets off on a selfish and immoral business venture that quickly produces a huge income. Many would consider that a success. Say another person prayerfully sought to fulfill the will of God and started some other business. After years of trying, that business failed and went into bankruptcy. Which situation is better? Clearly, the one who sought to fulfill the will of God is the winner. Why? Because the spiritual fruit of fidelity to the will of God, despite worldly setbacks, produced an eternal treasure more valuable than earthly wealth.

God judges the heart, not the worldly outcome. In fact, from a worldly perspective alone, Jesus’ life was a complete failure. He was arrested, charged with a capital crime, beaten and killed. His earthly kingdom—desired by many of his followers—was never established. Many of them abandoned Him when He was killed. Even after He rose from the dead, He didn’t establish an earthly kingdom.

Of course, in the spiritual realm, the realm of eternal realities, Jesus’ life was infinitely successful. His death destroyed death itself, and His Resurrection enabled all who believe in Him to share in eternal life. His spiritual Kingdom is now in full bloom and will one day be visible to all.

Back to our original question. If you were in charge of the Temple treasury, and you were given the same option that Jesus pointed to of receiving the large sums of money from the rich, or the two coins from the poor widow, it would certainly be better to accept the two coins. If that is hard to comprehend, then it is a sign that you live more according to the values of the world than the values of the spiritual Kingdom of God. The poor widow gave more than two small coins; she also gave the spiritual gift of her generosity and complete trust in God. She gave all she had and trusted that God would take care of her and use her gift for good. This is infinitely more fruitful for the building of the Kingdom of God than the gift of someone’s excess of money. God does not need our money, but we need to give it, be detached from it, and be ready and willing to give everything we have, all that we are, our entire livelihood to God. This is trust. This is a spiritual gift that will have far greater eternal ramifications for the salvation of souls than all the money in the world.

Reflect, today, upon the compliment Jesus pays to this poor widow. “She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Do you contribute your whole livelihood? Do you dedicate everything you have, all your energies and gifts, and all that you are to the service of God for His glory? We are called to give everything to God—not just a portion of our lives. Reflect upon how well you imitate this poor widow and seek to follow her holy example.

Most generous Lord, You gave all that You had and all that You are out of love for the salvation of the world. Help me to imitate Your total gift by returning all to You, entrusting my entire life, all that I am, and my entire livelihood to You. Jesus, I trust in You.

Discovery and Awe

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless.” Luke 20:27–31

The Sadducees were a small, wealthy and privileged ruling class among the Jews who only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah. They rejected oral tradition and were in constant conflict with the Pharisees. Yet when it came to Jesus, these two groups each took turns challenging our Lord in an attempt to discredit Him.

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. For that reason, they devised the above scenario as a way of trapping Jesus. Jesus did answer them, and then went on to use the Book of Exodus, which the Sadducees accepted, to show that Moses spoke of Abraham, Issac and Jacob as alive and with God. Thus, their souls, according to Moses, were immortal, proving them wrong. This humbled and silenced the Sadducees in their attempted trap.

One thing this story tells us is that we must be careful not to enter into a limited and narrow view of eternal truths. When we get to Heaven, and when our minds have the fullness of God’s truth revealed to us, we will be in awe and will realize how limited our understanding was while we were on earth. Though we must always seek to understand more fully, and strive to grow in our faith and knowledge of the truths of God, we must also always approach those eternal truths with humility, acknowledging how limited our grasp of them truly is. Our journey of faith must be one that discovers, is in awe of that discovery, then humbly admits how limited that discovery of our faith truly is. Humbly admitting this is not a denial of the truths we discover. Rather, it is a way of continuously realizing that there is so much more.

How well do you understand God and all that He has revealed? That might be a difficult question to answer. Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the most knowledgeable theologian ever to walk the earth, was one of the most prolific writers on the faith. Much of what we teach today on many topics of faith stem from His detailed teachings. At the end of his life, before finishing his final work, he had a mystical experience that was beyond words. After that experience, the Dominican who was helping him asked Saint Thomas to finish his writing. It is said that Thomas replied to him, “​​Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me.” Thus, one of the greatest works of Catholic theology, The Summa Theologica, was never finished. Saint Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of theologians, was in awe of how little he actually knew and how limited was his articulation of the truths of God.

Reflect, today, upon the high calling you have been given to seek the truth with all your mind. Reflect upon how dedicated you are to this important task. The more we understand, the more we will want to understand. Reflect, also, upon the humble truth that we will never comprehend the infinite mind of God. This humble truth must drive us on to an ever deepening mission of discovery and awe.

My infinite Lord, Your wisdom is infinitely above my wisdom and Your ways far above mine. Please give me a burning desire to know You and to understand all that You have revealed. As I discover more about You, dear Lord, please also keep me humble so that I will always remain in awe of the vastness of Who You are. Jesus, I trust in You.

Loving Every Sinner

Monday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:1–2

Having a millstone placed around your neck and thrown into the sea is very descriptive. Jesus is using very evocative language. A millstone was a large round stone with a hole in the center. If it were placed around someone’s neck and they were thrown into the sea, they would obviously sink to the bottom and die. Thus, Jesus is clearly stating that this awful fate is actually better than the fate of those who cause “one of these little ones to sin.”

First of all, it should be clarified that no one can actually cause us to sin. Sin is our own free choice, and we, and we alone, will be held accountable for our own sin. One thing that Jesus is pointing out here is that even though every person must take responsibility for their own actions and their own sins, we must also take responsibility for the ways that we act as tempters of others. We are all sinners. Therefore, by our sin, we will all tempt others to sin also. Sometimes we will tempt people to sin by provoking them to anger. At other times we will tempt others to sin by setting a poor example. And on the contrary, we also have the ability to “tempt” people to virtue. Or more properly speaking, to inspire and encourage them.

With that said, Jesus explains that the fate of those who act as tempters of others, especially the “little ones,” will suffer consequences graver than an untimely death. The little ones of which Jesus speaks should be understood as those who are weak in faith, overly sensitive, particularly vulnerable at that time in their life, and susceptible to outside influence. This could be a child, or it could be someone who is currently teetering on the edge of despair, confusion, anger, or any serious sin. When you encounter people like this, how do you treat them? Jesus has a deep heart of compassion for these people and wants us to have the same depth of compassion. But sometimes we fail. We may be negligent in our duty to reach out to them. Even this negligence could be a form of causing “one of these little ones to sin.” Of course, it is even far worse if we were to actively agitate them, harshly judge them, provoke their anger, draw them into some sin of weakness and false consolation by our temptation, etc. The simple truth is that Jesus loves those who are weak, vulnerable and sinful, and He wants us to love them with His heart. When we fail to do so, Jesus will hold us accountable for their further fall from grace.

Reflect, today, upon the person or persons in your life that appear especially vulnerable, sinful, confused and lost at this time. Who is it that struggles with anger, or an addiction or some sinful lifestyle? Ponder your attitude toward them. Are you judgmental, condemning, belittling and the like? Do you tempt them to fall further into any sins of weakness they commit in a vulnerable state, thus leading them into further sin? Or, when you encounter someone who is greatly struggling, do you turn to them with the deepest compassion and mercy, forgiving any ways that they may sin against you, and work hard only to be there for them in their need, no matter how hard it is on you? Commit yourself to a profound love of all of God’s “little ones” and seek to serve them with the heart of Christ so that one day they will eternally rejoice with you in Heaven.

My most compassionate Lord, You love the sinner and deeply desire that they turn to You in their need. Please give me Your heart of compassion so that I will be free to love them as You love them. May I never become an instrument of temptation for them to fall further away from You but, instead, become an instrument of Your unfailing mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

Servants of the Master

Tuesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table?’ Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished?’ Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” Luke 17:7–9

In most cultures today, the idea of having a servant whom you command to wait on you is far from ideal. Jesus uses this image because the people to whom He was speaking would have easily related. He used it as a way of humbling them because when the illustration is properly understood, He was identifying each one of them as the servant, not the master. Only God is the Master.

When it comes to our service of God, there is no limit to the commands that God will give. At first, that might seem harsh, but it’s not because the commands that God gives to us are dictates of perfect love. We need His commands. We need the order He provides. We need to enter into perfect obedience to Him. We need to listen to everything He tells us and obey it to perfection. Seeing God as our Master and ourselves as His servants will only appear harsh when we fail to understand what sort of Master He is.

Recall the beautiful words of our Blessed Mother when she was given the command from the Archangel Gabriel. The angel said to her, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” This was not a question posed to her; it was a command of love. Mary did not hesitate and did not refuse. She said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

At the conclusion of today’s Gospel, Jesus went on to say, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” In many ways, this is exactly what our Blessed Mother did. She was a servant of God’s perfect commands, and she knew that her love for God obliged her to follow His will.

When you think about your service of the will of God, do you see it as you doing God a favor? Do you see obedience to God’s dictates as an act of generosity on your part and your cooperation with those dictates as above and beyond your natural duties? Hopefully not. Hopefully you understand that you, like our Blessed Mother, are a servant of the one true Master of all. Hopefully you also see the commands of God as the roadmap toward a life of complete fulfillment. When we understand Who the Master is, we will never hesitate in being a servant, or even a slave. We will not hesitate in freely surrendering ourselves over to His will in complete and unwavering obedience. God alone knows what is best for us, and we need to give Him complete control over our lives.

Reflect, today, upon the image of a master and a slave. As you do, try to shed every preconceived image you have that includes harshness, cruelty, dominance and control. Instead, try to see the image of a divine Master Whose only concern is for the servant. Try to see a Master Who perfectly loves the servant. Reflect upon your own need for such a Master in your life. Pray that you will be able to surrender complete control over to God in all things so that He can direct your life into the glorious things He has in store for you.

My Lord and Master, You have commanded me and all Your servants to obey Your commands of perfect love. Your will alone is what is best for our lives and Your dictates bring fulfillment and purpose to our lives. May I, with Your Blessed Mother, always obey You in everything, for I am a servant of You, dear Lord. May I joyfully do what I am obliged to do. Jesus, I trust in You.

Thank You, My Lord

Wednesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Luke 17:17–19

This reply from our Lord came in response to the one leper who returned to Jesus to thank Him. Ten lepers had come to Jesus, stood at a distance, cried out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And with that, Jesus healed them all. But the heart of this healing is not as much the healing itself as it is the gratitude expressed by only one of the ten.

This Gospel relates to us that this one leper did five things to profoundly express his gratitude. He returned, glorified God, did so in a loud voice, fell at the feet of Jesus, and thanked him. What a wonderful witness for us all!

By analogy, children often take the loving care of their parents for granted. That’s why many good parents regularly remind their children to say “thank you.” In our relationship with God, we can also easily take God’s saving actions for granted. We can easily see all the grace we receive as something we deserve rather than as an infinitely merciful gift. When that happens, we become more like the other nine who failed to properly express their gratitude to Jesus.

First of all, it must be noted that expressing gratitude to God is not done because God needs these accolades. He does not depend upon our gratitude to affirm His self-worth. This is obvious. God is God, and He does not need our praise in any way. However, giving profound praise and glory to God is essential. It is essential because we need this virtue of gratitude so as to daily be reminded that all we receive from God is an unmerited gift. We cannot earn His love and grace. We do not deserve it. But He chooses to bestow it anyway out of mercy. And the only appropriate response to mercy is gratitude. Profound gratitude.

Gratitude is essential because it is the truth. We should always return to our Lord after He has graced us. We should glorify Him with much fervor, crying out to Him with passion. We should, literally and interiorly, fall on our face before Him, at His feet, and thank Him, over and over and over again. Doing so will always help us to remember the truth that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. An unmerited and undeserved gift of grace.

Reflect, today, upon the depth of gratitude in your own heart. Do you often act more like a spoiled and selfish child, or do you regularly perceive the graciousness of God? If you lack in any way this fullness of gratitude, then ponder this one leper. His gratitude, expressed with the fullness of passion, is the most important part of this story. In the end, he was graced far more than the other nine because his healing produced faith; and it was that faith that saved not only his body but his soul. Seek to save your soul by imitating the faith of this one holy and healed leper.

My gracious Lord, You bestow Your mercy upon me in superabundance. Without You, Jesus, I have nothing; but with You, I receive everything. May I always know and understand my need for Your grace. And as I am gifted with it, may I respond with the deepest gratitude, thus, saving my soul through faith. Jesus, I trust in You.

Perceiving the Kingdom of God

Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”  Luke 17:20–21

Why did the Pharisees ask Jesus this question? Why did they want to know when the Kingdom of God would come? To answer this question, we must first look at the full context of the various communications between Jesus and the Pharisees. When we do this and see the many ways that the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus in speech and the times in which our Lord firmly rebuked the Pharisees, it seems clear that the Pharisees did not ask Jesus this question in innocence and openness. Instead, they once again were trying to trap Him. They posed a question by which they gave the appearance of believing Jesus’ teachings that the Kingdom of God was coming, but they asked not in faith but in mockery and in an attempt to trip Jesus up in His answer.

Jesus’ answer is mysterious. It leaves little room for the Pharisees to use Jesus’ speech against Him. Perhaps the Pharisees were hoping that Jesus would say that the Kingdom was coming soon, or next month, or within the year. But Jesus’ answer leaves them with confusion in the face of this mystery that “the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Much of what Jesus says can only be fully understood through faith. He often speaks in veiled language intentionally, because the only way to lift the veil to perceive the meaning of His teachings is to rely upon the inspired gift of faith. Faith is like a key to unlock the secrets of the mysteries of God. Faith becomes a lens through which every parable, every figure of speech, and every mystery taught by our Lord is understood. But without this inspired gift of faith, Jesus’ teachings remain mysterious and incomprehensible.

When you ponder these words that “the Kingdom of God is among you,” what do you understand? Are you able to use the gift of faith to unlock the meaning of this sacred teaching? Interestingly, reading Jesus’ words, spoken in a veiled way, offer us the opportunity to test our own faith. If we read these words and are left in confusion, then this is a clear sign that we need to pray for and be open to the gift of faith. But if we do read Jesus’ mysterious teachings and the light of understanding is given to us, then this is a clear reason to rejoice, since this comprehension is only possible through the gift of faith.

Reflect, today, upon this sacred teaching of our Lord: “The Kingdom of God is among you.” Meditate on those words and pray for insight and understanding. Jesus’ words are true. His Kingdom truly is everywhere, all around us and within us. It is alive and well. Do you see it? Do you perceive it? Do you see your role in building it? Use these questions as a test of your own level of faith and know that God wants to reveal to you these mysteries that are only able to be comprehended by His grace.

My mysterious Lord, Your Kingdom is everywhere, all around us and within us. I do believe. Give me the eyes of faith so that I may continually perceive Your hand at work. May I always be attentive to all that You wish to reveal to me and open to the deep meaning of the mysteries You do reveal. Increase my faith, dear Lord, so that I may know You and join in the upbuilding of Your glorious Kingdom. Jesus, I trust in You.

Embracing the Present Moment

Friday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26–27

As we enter into the final weeks of the liturgical year, we begin to turn our attention to the final coming of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the example of Noah and Lot. In both of their stories, people were eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building up, until the very day that the floods came to destroy the earth at the time of Noah and fire rained down from the sky at the time of Lot. Both Noah and Lot were saved, but many others alive at that time met with sudden and unexpected destruction.

Jesus says that the “days of the Son of Man” will be similar to these previous two events. At an unexpected time, Jesus will return to earth, and the Final Judgment will ensue. So His message is clear: Be ready at all times.

Though we are familiar with this teaching of our Lord, spoken many times and in various ways in the Gospels, many people do not heed the message. It is easy to believe that you always have tomorrow to change, and so you give into temptation today. And then tomorrow comes, and the temptation is once again embraced with the thought that you will work on it tomorrow, and henceforth. We can easily go about perpetuating our sins and embracing our temptations while we have the ongoing good intention of changing tomorrow. This is a mistake for two reasons.

First of all, it always remains a possibility that our Lord will indeed come today and that today truly will be the end of the world. Or, it always remains a distinct possibility that your life will come to an end today, suddenly and unexpectedly. If that were to happen, would you be fully ready to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Most people would not, at least not fully ready. Thus, this should be motivation enough to work tirelessly today to be ready now and every moment hereafter.

But we should also see this prophecy of our Lord as applying to every present moment of every day. Jesus is always coming to us, suddenly and without warning, inviting us to serve Him by grace. This Gospel passage states that “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” This applies to the end of our lives and to the end of the world, but it also applies to every present moment of every day. If we continually seek to lose our lives, meaning, to choose the Heavenly realities over the temporal earthly indulgences we are daily tempted with, then we will also daily experience the grace of salvation, here and now, in every present moment of our lives. 

Reflect, today, upon whether or not you regularly seek to lose your life for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Do you continually choose grace, mercy, Heaven, obedience, love, self-sacrifice, compassion, forgiveness and the like, every moment of every day of your life? If so, then our Lord will continually bestow the gift of His saving grace upon you here and now, preparing you for the ultimate moment of judgment. If not, then you will be more like the people of Noah’s and Lot’s time who met with sudden destruction when they least expected it. Live for God now, today, in this moment, and you will be eternally grateful you did.

My ever-present Lord, You come to me always, suddenly and unexpectedly, and so often I do not hear You or perceive Your presence. Please help me to live continually for You and by Your grace, choosing Heavenly realities over temporary indulgences. May I live this way always, meeting You every moment of my life and anticipating that glorious final meeting with You at the time of judgment. Jesus, I trust in You.

Praying for the Will of God

Saturday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” Luke 18:6–8

It’s interesting that Jesus uses the example of a dishonest judge to illustrate the importance of praying to God, calling out to Him day and night for justice. As the parable goes, this judge cared little about a widow in his town who continually came to him asking for a just decision. He felt as though she was continually bothering him. Because she was so persistent, the judge thought to himself, “…because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.” Jesus’ conclusion from this parable is quoted above.

The simple lesson we ought to learn from this parable is that we must be persistent in prayer. God will always answer our prayers, seeing to it that “justice is done” speedily. But many people have prayed and prayed and prayed for some situation, prayed even for justice, and it appeared that God did not answer their prayer. Thus, some may question the promise of Jesus that persistent prayer will always be answered and justice always be rendered.

If this is your experience, it is essential that you remind yourself of two things. First, Jesus’ words are true. When we persevere in prayer and trust in God, He hears us and answers. This is our Lord’s unwavering promise. But secondly, the “justice” that God delivers may often be different than the justice we expect. It may be that we want someone to pay for a wrong they did to us, but after praying fervently, our expectation is not met by our Lord. For this reason, it is essential that we know that God answers every prayer we pray, but in accord with His perfect will and wisdom. Therefore, God’s view of justice at times may be very different than ours. At times, His justice is satisfied by His invitation to us to show mercy in abundance. True mercy always satisfies justice.

Take, for example, the case of someone speaking in a rude manner to you. If you offer that situation to our Lord, He will enter in and provide His grace for you to deal with it in accord with His will. Perhaps He will soften the other person’s heart so that they apologize, or perhaps, if they don’t apologize and their heart is not softened, then God’s answer to your prayer will be to give you the grace of humility so that you can love that person despite their unrepentance. Regardless of the way our Lord intervenes, the fact remains that He will intervene and enable you to fulfill His perfect will. If, however, your prayer is that the person be held accountable and condemned, then you are trying to tell God what to do, and He will not accede to your request. All of our prayer must ultimately be for the fulfillment of God’s perfect will in accord with His wisdom.

Reflect, today, upon how completely you trust in God. Do you know, with certainty, that He will answer every prayer that you fervently pray with faith in accord with His divine will? Believing this is freeing and enables you to live more fully in union with Him. If there is some issue with which you struggle right now, even some apparent injustice, then entrust it to our Lord, day and night without ceasing, and know that His grace will guide you as He answers you in accord with His will.

My all-wise Lord, Your will is perfect in all things, and You always bestow Your grace upon me when I pray without ceasing. Please give me a trusting Heart, dear Lord, so that I will never waver in my hope that You will always answer my prayers in accord with Your will. Jesus, I trust in You.

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