The First Reading is from the passage of the First Book of Kings which inspired best selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho to write a fiction novel, The Fifth Mountain. A devastating drought was affecting the region short of 3 millennia ago when we encounter a very poor widow on the verge of dying of starvation. The prophet Elijah who had predicted the drought to King Ahab of
The gospel according to Mark talks about another poor widow who at the entrance of the temple gave all she had, two small coins worth a few cents. In this passage the story does not focus on the happy ending, but on the teaching to the disciples (and to us) by Jesus upon observing the giving of the crowd into the treasure in the courtyard of the temple. Jesus states that while in economic terms there were many rich people putting in large sums, they were giving from their surplus wealth. Yet the poor widow gave from her livelihood.
The Lord is setting the bar very high for standards of not thinking about self, but focusing on others. The point of the Gospel is certainly not that we should all seek to become poor widows, but it clearly challenges us to give more than of what is left over. Be it care for others, interest in others as well as monetary support to the needy, wherever we encounter them in our lives.
My personal journey on this topic was not easy, yet infinitely rewarding, once I dared to let go. I grew up in an environment where giving, for example to the church, was just a few coins. When we came to the
Fortunately there are many people in our world we can look up to as role models in generosity, like the widows of this week’s passages are. Many parents willingly sacrifice their own interests so that their children have what they need. There are people who work long hours in healthcare facilities to ensure that the needs of patients are being met. Public servants like police and firefighters place themselves at risk in order to ensure our safety. We encounter the ultimate example of unselfish giving in this week’s Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews in Jesus who gave his life so that we may have eternal live.
The complete text of today’s
With God’s Love and Blessings,
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