Here, masquerading as another word of graceful lovingkindness, is today’s gospel reading that, when we open the door, shouts “trick or treat” and rips off the fairy mask to reveal a wolf.
Jesus ... 2 ... said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:5-8 NRSV)
In preparing for Sunday School, the scholars I looked at are confident (like me, they’re almost never certain of anything) that Jesus actually told this parable, verses 2-5, and that verses 6-8a are Luke’s or the early church’s addition to soften, rationalize, mollify the bedtime story that Jesus leaves us pondering and unable to go to sleep. The question at 8b seems off the wall altogether, though group discussion might suggest some relevance other than that Luke’s entire section has something to do with prayer and faith.
At any event, in Sunday School discussion this morning, I’m going to stick to the hard part, which is the parable itself with its startling allusion. Where’s the good news?