THIRTY- SECOND SUNDAY
IN ORDINARY TIME
Today’s first reading and the gospel are focusing on two poor widows. The first in 1 Kings 17:10-16 and the gospel Mark 12:38-44, highlight the poor widows’ offerings, and indicate how pleasing those offerings are in the sight of God. The widow that Elijah encountered was not like a type of modern svelte widow in halter and shorts who runs through the neighborhood in Nike athletic shoes, and perhaps enjoying social security and welfare benefits too. Rather this woman had almost reached the rope’s end. All that she had was a bit of flour and a little oil for herself and her son. Elijah insisted that she prepares a little cake for him with the flour and oil she had and give him first. She obliged and prepared the cake for the prophet. The poor widow’s good will and generosity was amply rewarded by God. Her jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry. In spite of the famine, she and her son were able to eat for a year from the flour and the oil from which she had shared with the prophet.
Jesus brings to our attention a similar incident. In the temple, he focuses his gaze on the offering of a poor widow. While the people were putting money into the treasury, a poor widow put in her mite. Many put in from their surplus, the poor widow offered more than she had. Her two small copper coins were far from worthless in the eyes of Jesus because they represented an extraordinary generosity: they were all that the woman had to live on.
Neither of the two widows actually gave very much monetarily speaking. Nevertheless, these “silent women” are our teachers today. We are to learn from them, not because of what they gave but because of who they became in their giving. Those simple women relied on God. Their faith and trust in God are remarkable. Their generosity is praiseworthy.
Out of generous love for us Jesus gave his life on the cross. He reached down to pick up everyone from the depths of sin and to draw us to himself. No human person is so insignificant to him as to be like a penny which is not worth bothering with. We are all precious in his eyes. We will one day be held accountable, not only in regards to the manner and measure of our giving but also as to how we have lived and loved and who we have become in the time we have been given.
When we come to Mass we experience the generosity of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. He feeds us with his body and blood. The Eucharist is a gift even greater than that granted to the widow of Zarephath as Jesus himself is greater than his prophet Elijah. Jesus offered all to us. What do we offer him?