He (Jesus) said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ Luke 18:2-5 (NRSV)
Last week at Kiwanis, Brandy Coppersmith, the director of the Missouri Valley Crisis Center in Chamberlain gave a presentation on sex trafficking in SD. She reminded us that sex trafficking is present in SD. It is especially prevalent during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and during the fall hunting season. But Brandy also mentioned that the US attorney, Brendan Johnson, is working to make sure that those who are arrested for sex trafficking are being prosecuted and sentenced. I thought of Brandy’s comments when I read about the unjust judge who would not respond to a woman’s appeal for justice until she kept bothering him. The reason he gave was that “she may not wear me out”. The Greek work literally means “give me a black eye”. A better translation would be “so that she may not make me look bad”. He was not concerned about the woman but only about his own reputation. Jesus, in Luke’s gospel, has a special concern for widows. The widow, Anna, gives praise for the baby Jesus (Lk 2:37). Jesus brings the widow of Nain’s son back to life (Lk. 7:12). Jesus uses the widow of Zerephath as a sermon illustration (Lk. 4:25-26). Those three stories as well as the above parable only appear in Luke’s gospel. The story of the poor widow giving all she had (Lk. 21:3) and Jesus condemnation of the scribes who devour widows (Lk. 20:47) all point out Luke’s concern for the most vulnerable of Jewish society, the widow. This text reminds us that as Christians we always need to work for justice for those who are most vulnerable and do so before they give us a black eye. So take a look around – who are those in need of justice in our society? Could it be the poor whose food stamps are being taken away? Is it the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly, the immigrant, the abused? Jesus parable is a call to action on behalf of those who need our help. May we respond quickly.