32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Dear friends:

In the liturgy of the word of God today, we are presented with two widows. The first one is taken from the book of 1Kings and another is from St. Mark. A common trait unites the two widows. Both of them are poor and both of them generous. They give all that they can, all that they have. Such a generosity is a sign of total trust in God.

In the first reading from the book of 1Kings, the widow of Zarephath, who at the request of the prophet Elijah, shared with him all that she had for herself and her son, the bread and oil, even though what they had was just enough for only two of them.

However, according to the prophet Elijah’s prediction, a miracle occurred, “The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail” (1Kings 17:16). God provided them bread until the day that the Lord sent rain on earth.

Perhaps the widow of the New Testament is more generous. She “put in everything she had, she had to live on.” (Mk.12:44). She did not have the assuring word of the prophet, that God will supply what she needed. She depended completely on divine providence for the following day’s need.

Why did Jesus praise her offering? The gospel says, “many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny”. (Mk.12:41-42). Here we need to remember that the rich gave from their abundance. They gave without giving up anything, without sacrificing anything. They did not miss what they offered. They offered from their surplus. But the poor widow offered from her ‘too little’, she offered everything she had. She was not afraid of giving everything. The rich offered from the superfluous, the widow from the indispensable. The offering of the rich was well calculated. The offering of the widow was uncalculated.

By this widow’s example, Jesus hopes that we, his followers will be equally generous with our own resources. Those resources are not always measured in terms of money. We are called on to give our time, talents and our understanding. We are called to be generous with our love, our forgiveness and our patience. And the good news is that when we do that out of love, Jesus will be our constant support. Let us therefore show our generosity in our deeds.

May God bless you,

Fr. Chris