Father Joseph V. Corpora, CSC | February 18, 2017
Let me tell you a story. There is a local judge who is supposed to decide a complicated insurance case. The plaintiff, a destitute widow, sends him two or three letters a day, makes innumerable phone calls, leaves endless voice mails, e-mails him every hour, sends dozens of faxes, texts him, begins a Facebook page, and has her friends calling in daily to recommend her cause and demanding justice for her. Whenever the judge tries to leave his home or the courthouse, she accosts him. She plants people in his path who give him messages about her. Sir, please help this poor woman. Listen to her case.
Finally after several weeks the judge cannot stand the constant nagging any more. Without considering the merits of the case, he decides to give her all that she wants.
Does this story sound familiar to you? It should, because it’s basically the story from St. Luke’s Gospel known as the Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Widow.
Here’s the parable: “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’”
Once more, Jesus leaves his listeners scratching their heads. What is this all about?
The parables are mirrors in which we are invited to look at ourselves by identifying with someone. So, who are we in this parable? We don’t know anything about the widow. She is not presented as virtuous or even as having a just cause. The judge is obviously not impartial. He’s supposed to be a decent person who does justice to people, but he’s a wretched man. So how can the Kingdom of God be similar to anything in this rather bizarre situation?