27th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 07th October 2019 — Gospel: Lk 11,5-13
After teaching the disciples the universal prayer, Jesus tells them a parable to illustrate that even midnights and closed doors need not deter us from praying. In the parable of the midnight-friend and its accompanying instruction, Jesus inculcates the attitude of confidence that must go with the words of prayer. In Palestine, hospitality was a sacred duty that was highly valued and widely practiced (Lk 7,36-50; 9,51-52; 10,38-42; 19,1-10). Successful ancient hospitality often advanced the formation of permanent friendship. The sudden arrival of a guest in the midnight to a friend causes a crisis in hospitality. The parable highlights the sense of shame that is so powerful in such cultures. The neighbouring friend, who was unwilling to get up from bed and help, will experience shame inevitably before others the next day for refusing such a simple hospitality to a needy neighbour. Therefore the neighbouring friend is forced to do the right thing against personal inclination or interest. Now, this shame is not something that puts pressure directly upon the man who has gone to bed. It has been transferred to him, by the friend who comes for assistance. What causes him to get up is not personal shame but shameless persistence in knocking that he cannot simply ignore. Further, denial of his request will surely put his midnight friend to shame before his visiting friend.