What can Catholics do to help the most vulnerable? Vote against corrupt leaders.
On the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Gospel reminded us to be unceasing in expressing gratitude for God’s actions in our lives. Today, we are reminded to be unceasing in our demand for justice. As we near election day, the message and implications of today’s Gospel are powerful, as they should inspire us to be proactive and persistent in our fight against injustice.
“I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me” (Lk 18:5).
Are you consistent in advocating for those who are most in need?
What can you do to create a more just society?
How can you use your power to fight corruption?
In this Sunday’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus shares a parable with his followers that focuses on two people, a corrupt judge and a persistent woman. The judge is said not to fear God or humanity. He misuses his position of power and does not deal justly or equitably with his community. The woman is described as a widow who consistently advocates for justice. She calls on the judge to “render a just decision for me against my adversary.” Her persistence eventually convinces the judge to deal justly and honestly with her.
The parable is framed as an example of persistent prayer. Jesus uses the story to teach his disciples “to pray always without becoming weary.” He highlights the woman’s repeated actions that cause the judge to change his ways. Although the importance of prayer is a recurring theme in Luke’s Gospel, this parable can offer us more than a model for praying. It is a model for how to change norms and address corruption.
In the face of corrupt leadership, the woman is unceasing in her fight for justice, and we must be the same.
The woman’s advocacy for justice is consistent with Jesus’ message and ministry, which often focus on those who are disenfranchised and on the margins of society. As a woman and a widow, she would have had very limited access to justice, as men would have had legal standing above her. Yet the Gospel offers an important, countercultural image of a woman fighting for herself and successfully overcoming corruption. This woman embodies the Gospel message of justice and equity, and we should be inspired to do the same. The woman raises her voice for herself, a point not to be missed. The parable reminds us to advocate for ourselves, especially in the face of corruption.
While the woman’s persistent fight is admirable, the need for her repeated demands is alarming and highlights the level to which this judge disregards his duties. As a widow, the woman would have been among the most vulnerable in society, which should have been a motivator for the judge to deal justly with her. Unfortunately, he resists, only giving in after increased pressure.
As we approach election day on Nov. 8, the image of such corruption in power has unfortunate resonances. This Gospel can inspire us to be thoughtful and vigilant in reviewing and electing candidates for office. We are reminded of the Gospel call to help those who are vulnerable and most in need. We are also reminded to recognize our power and ability to effect change. In the face of corrupt leadership, the woman is unceasing in her fight for justice, and we must be the same.