HOMILY WEEK 32 06 – Year II
On Faith and Caring – Adapted from The Word Among Us:
Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
(3 Jn 5-8; Ps 112; Lk 18:1-8)
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?”
The widow in the gospel was desperate. So, day after day, she stood before this dishonest judge and pled her case. Despite the judge’s indifference, she did not give up. Instead, her pleas likely became more intense and frequent until he finally gave her a just settlement.
Now we know that God is not like the unjust judge when we come to God in intercessory prayer. Instead, God’s ears are open, and God is always ready to listen to us. Still, we need to be like that widow, persevering as we intercede to God, calling out to God, day and night. This “calling out” is much more than a casual hello or a quick request. It is rooted in a deep need to be heard. And that means not giving up.
So why does it seem that God delays in answering us sometimes? Because as we persist in pouring out our needs to God, we are receiving blessings that go beyond the solution to a problem or the pulling down of an obstacle. We develop a deeper relationship with God and become more like God. We take on God’s heart and God’s perspective. And that is the most important thing that can happen!
This is especially true if we don’t perceive a solution right away or if it feels as if God is not answering our prayers. The more we persevere, the more opportunity we have to offer God not only our needs but our fears, desires and hopes. We become more eager to invite God into our heart and ask God to strengthen us.
That’s the mysterious reward of intercession. It goes beyond getting the answer we expect from our prayers. God secures our “rights” to God’s wisdom, God’s peace, God’s love and God’s character. We develop an ever-deepening relationship with the One who gives all good gifts, most of all, the Holy Spirit, the best of all gifts.
Today the Church honors St. Josaphat, born John Kuncewicz in present-day Ukraine about 1580. Upon entering the Order of St. Basil, he chose the name ‘Josaphat.’ He was ordained a priest of the Byzantine rite in 1609 and soon gained renown for his preaching. In 1617, named archbishop of Polotsk, Russia, he worked for the renewal of the diocese and for the union of the Ukrainian Church with Rome. Many opposed Josaphat, claiming he was trying to impose Roman-style Catholicism on the Ukrainian Church. He was slain by opponents in 1623 in Vitebsk. In 1867 Josaphat became the first Eastern saint to be formally canonized.
The Eucharist is an act of faith in God’s love for us in Jesus. May our celebration empower us to live out the Eucharist by expressing our faith in Christ through loving, selfless service, especially to the poor among us.