picture of jesus teaching with raised left hand

The Parable of the Persistent Widow


This Rosary reflection focuses on the parable that Jesus taught about persevering in prayer.

The Gospel Account

A widow, one of the powerless people in Jewish society, implores a powerful, uncaring, dishonest judge to make things right. The judge has the power of position; the widow has the persistence of petition. Because of her grit and moxie, he helps her because she “keeps bothering” him for a long time.

This Rosary Reflection contains the the full text of the parable, Luke 18:1-8. This parable is found only in the Gospel of Luke.

The Five Decades

When you pray the five decades of this Rosary Reflection, use these five moments from the Gospel story. Read the Gospel verses for each decade and let the words sink in as you pray that decade.

First Decade: The Necessity of Praying Always (Luke 18:1)

Then Jesus told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

Second Decade: A  Widow Implores A Dishonest  Judge  (Luke 18:2-3)

Jesus said, “There was a judge in a certain town who feared neither 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.”

Third Decade: The Dishonest Judge Yields to Do Justice (Luke 18:4-5)

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 strikes me.”

Fourth Decade: The Justice of God’s Actions (Luke 18:6-7)

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?”

Fifth Decade: Faith in God’s Justice  (Luke 18:8)

“I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

What to Remember

These Gospel verses reflect the virtue of standing firm in seeking justice for ourselves and others when we address God. Our response is not to get discouraged, faint of heart, will, or imagination.

As a follower of Jesus, and a child of God, you have the privilege to ask the Father for anything in Jesus’ name – along with the challenge to accept that God’s answers will occur in God’s own time and way. Praying the rosary is an act of faith and persistence. You ask Mary to pray for you now and at the hour of death 53 times during one rosary. Mary joins you in presenting your needs to God.

What to Pray For

  • For the faith and patience to pray always, without becoming weary or discouraged by waiting.
  • For those who feel discouraged or are ready to quit in asking God for help.
  • For those who don’t believe or think that God will hear and answer their prayers.
  • For the grit to ask God for  profound and large petitions, like world peace, end to violence and war, and more.

Feel free to pray the rosary with these verses for a deeper belief that God is always working.

When This Gospel Appears

Luke’s Gospel account in the Gospel reading on the Twenty Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, in Cycle C of the Lectionary. The latest appearance is October 23, 2022.

* Scripture passages are from the United Conference of Catholic Bishops website, https://usccb.org/bible

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