In Sunday’s gospel, Luke implores us, with the story of the crooked judge and the old woman, that prayer must be persistent and pleading. We must truly want what we ask God for, be almost obsessive about it. Today, in the holy word once again Luke ruminates on prayer. He tells us that not only must we be persistent and pleading but we must also patient and persevering, but with the caveat of being vigilant. We must be ready when God answers our exhortations.

These readings so very much encapsulate the faith and prayerfulness of Saint John Paul II, whose optional memorial we celebrate today. Yet, I believe the words of Saint Paul in our first reading truly define the magnitude of his influence over all of us. “…so through one righteous act of acquittal, life came to all”

Here are examples of the inspiration he provided to all of us:

There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already born for us, and does not now bear with us.

Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not clearly tell you so. For it was Jesus – our Jesus himself – who said: ‘You are my friends if you do what I command you’. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.

In that little Host is the solution to all the problems of the world.

And lastly, his most famous quote, one that summed up his life, his hopes for his sheep, one he implored us to fight diligently for:

I plead with you–never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.

As Paul told Timothy, “Through the obedience of the ONE, the many will be made righteous” this clearly defines the life and love of Saint John Paul The Great!

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