Don't Give Up!

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

October 16th, 2021 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 18:1-8

Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Today’s gospel is one of my favorites. Jesus wanted to teach a lesson about persistence and prayer. He described a feisty widow who kept pestering a local judge about an injustice that was done to her by an “adversary.” She wanted him to make a judgment “making things right.” He didn’t want to be bothered, so for a time he ignored her request. Day after day she appeared before him, repeating her need. Eventually he caved in and granted her request. Point of the parable: Don’t quit if you know you are right.

Recently, I made of list of turning points that I experienced during my life. And I realized that, in general, if I was rejected by someone or given a negative response to a request, I often stepped back for a bit and then tried again. Maybe just repeated my request or created another approach. I recall an old saying: If you don’t at first succeed, try and try again.

Being a writer, I have often received a dreaded rejection notice after submitting my brilliant words to a publisher. Just like it happens to 99% of prospective authors. J. K. Rowling, the author of the immensely successful Harry Potter books, was rejected by every publisher in England, where she lived. Dozens of them! She finally found an American publisher who has sold millions of her books. She didn’t quit.

I have been part of a small number of theologians and church leaders who have advocated for greater support and appreciation of family life in various religious denominations and churches. It has been an uphill climb for decades.

Occasionally there are moments of satisfaction - like when Pope Francis’s wrote a treatise on joy in the family (Amoris Latitia) – but then there is the lukewarm acceptance it received and the millions of Catholics who have never read it. But those committed to this cause will not quit. Why? Probably for the same reason that widow repeatedly went to the courthouse with her request. They are not quitters.

We all have hopes and dreams that we judge as important and we all experience frustration when they are not realized. Not all those who heard the words of Jesus and even witnessed his mighty deeds took him seriously. Many walked away. But did he “throw in the towel” as we say? No, he continued his mission. Like the widow, he kept going. So should we.  

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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