Roc Homily (b) – Twenty-Ninth Sunday Ordinary Time 2016
Two Unsavory Characters
It seemed to me that Luke’s choice and use of certain words reveal a surprising subtext – neither the judge nor the widow are models for us (!) Here’s a look at just a few of the terms:
To pray = proseuchomai Luke 6:28f 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Jesus instructed his disciples about prayer. Doesn’t look like she’s a model of discipleship. She threatened the judge with violence (!) What she seeks is vengeance, not justice.
Opponent, adversary; accuser = antidikos
Luke 18:3 — 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ // Luke 12:58f — 58 Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” Doesn’t look like she would have heeded Jesus’ teaching here either. In fact, what she seeks is vengeance (!) [a better & more consistent translation]
Luke 18:3 — 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’
Deuteronomy 27:19 — 19 “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.” The judge is not much of a model either. He disregarded Deuteronomic law in order to “do it his way.”
To bother; provide, afford; to cause; to give as = parecho
Luke 18:5 — 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ”
Luke 6:29 — 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. In the same way as the widow, the judge doesn’t listen to Jesus’ teaching.
Question: We are coming toward the end of a highly contentious election cycle with two unsavory characters. Why did Jesus tell this parable of two unsavory characters to “pray always and not lose heart.” Tune in tomorrow…