November 11, 2018: Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Mark 12:38-44
In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
“Her whole livelihood?” In last week’s gospel Jesus taught what God asks of us to live according to his will. What he asks is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength — our whole “being” and “doing.” In this week’s gospel Jesus praises the widow and her gift of a few pennies — and his words tell us that she contributed all she had — one translation says “her whole living.”
The gospel writer appears to be giving us a clear example of what Jesus means when he teaches about giving “our all.” It appears the widow so trusted her loving God that she is able to give all she had. Having that kind of trust doesn’t come easily or quickly. Perhaps she learned this kind of trust by being alone after she was widowed. By having little human support, she learned to lean on God and to trust. Trust grows from learning day by day to recognize God’s love and care for us and returning in love all that we are.
This week could we try to live with greater awareness of God’s love? Could we see in the simple occurrences of life where God is asking us to trust and to give of ourselves as we strive to learn how to give “all our living?”