3 John 5-8
The third letter of John says, “Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers.” Visiting Australia after years abroad I have been struck by the incredible generosity of many people who have reached out to strangers, and welcomed them, our brothers and sisters, survivors of persecution and war, longing just to live and be free, wanting to make their own contribution to this beautiful land. Closer to home we all have the chance to reach out to others. This is what the Eucharist is about, reaching out, acknowledging friends, and welcoming strangers. Holy Communion is union with Jesus Christ, and union with them all in him.
If Jesus’ poor widow were living today she would have to make her complaint by phone, and she would be put on hold, listening to music, until a recorded voice would say, “Your call is important to us, an agent will be with you shortly,” and you know the rest, nothing but wasted time. All the while the judge himself or the manager, the top person, would be far away smiling, securely undisturbed.
The point is, one woman’s stubborn repetition shows us something about how to pray ourselves. She never stopped, and neither should we. You know that God always listens and never puts us on hold. OK, only faith tells us he is listening. But not one moment of prayer is ever wasted. And then God may talk to us and it may be in a whisper so soft we will miss it unless we open our hearts to listen again and again and again. Rarely God has spoken to people in dreams and visions. More often God speaks through others, through those who love us or through the strangers we make welcome, the people we greet on the street, even our enemies. I know someone struck by Gods faithfulness through the unfailing devotion of their dog. It is in prayer that we may come to know the deep meaning of all those voices and begin to understand that God is speaking to us.
Jeff Foale is an Australian Passionist living in Vietnam, a former New Guinea missionary with a passion for service of the poor and refugees and who loves life in all its forms and enjoys photography.