THE CRY OF THOSE WHO SUFFER
The parable of the widow and the unscrupulous judge is, like many others, an open story that can resonate differently in different listeners. According to Luke, it’s a call to pray without growing tired, but it’s also an invitation to trust that God will do justice for those who cry out to God day and night. What resonance can this dramatic story have in us today as it reminds us of so many victims unjustly abandoned to their fate?
In the biblical tradition the widow is the symbol par excellence of a person alone and forsaken. This woman has no husband or children to defend her. She counts on no help or advice. She only has adversaries who abuse her, and a judge without religion or conscience for whom no one’s suffering matters.
What the woman asks for isn’t just a whim. She only demands justice. This is her protest repeated firmly before the judge: «I want justice from you». Her petition is that of all those unjustly oppressed. A cry that is along the lines of what Jesus said to his followers: «Seek God’s Reign and God’s justice».
It’s certain that God has the last word and will do justice for those who call out to God day and night. This is the hope that Christ has struck in us by being raised by the Father from an unjust death. But until that hour arrives, the cry of those who shout out without anyone hearing them goes on.
For the majority of humanity, life is an unending night of waiting. Religions preach salvation. Christianity proclaims the victory of God’s Love incarnate in Jesus crucified. Meanwhile, millions of human beings only experience the hard hearts of their fellow humans and the silence of their God. And all too often, we believers ourselves are the ones who hide the Father’s face, covering it up with our religious selfishness.
Why doesn’t our communication with God make us listen at last to the cry of those who suffer unjustly and shout out to us in thousands of ways: «We want justice from you»? If, when we pray, we truly meet God, how are we not capable of listening more powerfully to the demands of justice that reach the very heart of the Father?
The parable challenges all us believers. Will we keep nourishing our private devotions, forgetting those who are suffering? Will we continue praying to God in order to put God at the disposal of our interests, without caring all that much about the injustices that abound in our world? Can we see that praying precisely exists to help us forget ourselves and seek with God a more just world for everyone?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf