October 21, 2007
ORDINARY 29 (C)
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? – Luke 18: 7
A little boy was looking forward with great anticipation to the annual birthday gift from his favorite aunt. She always had a way of picking out a toy which brought him a great deal of pleasure. Apparently, she had decided her nephew was old enough to start receiving clothing instead of toys, because she sent him a sweater. He sat down & dutifully wrote his “thank you” note: “Dear Aunt Jane: thank you for the sweater. It is what I’ve always wanted – but not very much. Love, Johnny.”
In that refreshing honest response we find the problem with most people’s response to God – including our own. We want God or we wouldn’t be here today, but not very much. There are many things in our lives far more exciting: a big football game, an imminent pay raise, high prices at the supermarket, the latest political scandal, or a love affair we’re involved in. We get caught up in these things far more than we do about God.
God will do justice to those “who call out to Him day & night,” Jesus says. Our fulfillment depends upon a high degree of enthusiasm for God; a deep, passionate longing for God. Rudyard Kipling was muttering deliriously on his deathbed. When asked what he wanted, he replied, “I want God!” That is what Jesus is talking about: wanting God the way a dying man wants Him. This is not an intellectual exercise. We’re talking about our whole beings caught up in a consuming hunger & thirst for God & His goodness.
So we must do whatever is necessary to acquire a real hunger for God in imitation of our Lord. If it means changing your job, you do it. If it means radically changing a family relationship, or adopting a whole new way of seeing yourself & others, or putting a destructive pleasure out of your life, you do it. If it means assigning generous periods of time for prayer & meditation, you do it.
There is a second level on which we yearn to be at one with God: we yearn for others to know God’s goodness. We hunger for their fulfillment just as intensely as for our own. In today’s parable, we find a poor widow who sought justice for herself but couldn’t get it. The corrupt judge feared neither God nor man & seemed immovable. Her only option was to persist.
M. Scott Peck tells us that a key characteristic of evil people is that they do not want to be good, but they desperately want to APPEAR to be good. Apparently the judge realized that if the widow didn’t stop nagging, he would be seen to be unjust by others, so he gave her satisfaction in the end. Unlike the judge, God responds swiftly to those who call on Him day & night, those who want Him very much.
To be able to live up to what God created us to be requires more than a “Thank you God for the gift of yourself. It’s what I’ve always wanted – but not very much.” The power & the strength to be the person God made us to be belong only to those who desire the gift very, very much! AMEN