We have a rich reservoir of metaphors expressing a unique facet of our God. God is father, mother, king, shepherd, creator, friend, lover, and the list goes. Jesus most frequently spoke of his “Father,” but used many other images to speak to our hearts. Today’s gospel gives us a rather unusual metaphor or image of God: the persistent widow! How wonderful and powerful: God compared to a helpless, vulnerable woman who lost her husband and ALL her security. Imaging a God who is vulnerable and without security and status.
When we hear this story, we usually take the place of the widow and WE are the ones who refuse to stop pleading , Jesus urging us to be persistent in prayer: never give up. Fair enough. However, what if God were that widow pleading to US, refusing to give us on US? What if God were that widow, knocking on the door of our heart…pounding and shouting,”Let me in your life?” God is the One who is persistent and won’t give up on us.
Yes, discouragement can overwhelm us, making our hearts heavy with apathy and cynicism. We give in to these dark spirits and close our lives and hearts to possibility…to hope. We immerse ourselves in the various narratives that saturate our culture, voices that make us fearful or bitter. Give yourself a gift on this Sunday: turn off the TV, the computer and every other device that distracts. In conversations, turn off the arguing, angry voices that go absolutely nowhere. Discuss and talk about realities that uplift and stretch the Spirit. The Widow God, doesn’t that sound joyful, is persistently beckoning us to engage in things that can change the world for the better.
Instead of staring at a screen feeding you endless images of nothing, play with your child or grandchild; take them out to somewhere fun; govout with your significant other on a long walk, saying nothing, just being present; if you want to turn on your computer, do so to write some needed emails or to learn a language; read a good book; clean out the garage; collect colorful leaves; PRAY; go to Mass.
Our Persistent Widow God is completely vulnerable to our free will. This is the one area where we have the edge: we are free to create beauty or to create chaos. God allows us to make the choice and God is totally beholden to our response. This is such a responsibility that God gives us: to recreate the world, participating in its restoration or to tear down and destroy.
Give in to the Widow God. Answer God’s prayer for us, that we surrender to His will and plan…that we let ourselves be loved by Him…that we see the world and every human being as He sees them….that we love ourselves, each other, and all creation into “a new heaven and a new earth.”
Look at this wonderful cathedral and see its magnificence, and its awesome beauty. Humankind did this, but only with the help of our Widow God who inspired the artisans, builders, sculptors, musicians, architects litugists, bishops and the people of God who prayed this Temple into being. In the first reading, Moses is depicted as one who needed help , trying to confront his adversaries and he got the help he needed, to keep his tired arms uplifted and outstretched. We, like Moses, need help in being our best selves, the ones created in God’s image.
God helps our spirits to be uplifted and stretched out, to embrace those like the Widow, vulnerable and powerless to forces of darkness. God wants us to create a Temple made of human lives and hearts, more beautiful than the Temple church in Burgos or Leon or Rome or Chicago. God is Persistent, like the Widow in the parable: he won’t give up on us…on YOU.