Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!
Today, Jesus again penetrates beneath the surface realities. This time it’s the people giving contributions at the temple: the rich put in large sums, and a poor widow puts in about two pennies. Widows could not inherit their husbands’ money, and thus they were the poorest of the poor.
So it must have shocked the apostles to hear Jesus say that this widow “has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.” How could this pitifully poor widow be the “big spender”?
To look beyond appearances, we may need a “paradigm shift”—an entirely new way of looking at the same old information. Jesus says to look differently at the giving: Who is giving their all?—giving their heart, giving till it hurts, not merely surplus. That’s the one who is truly giving the most.
Does this mean that we all have to spend down to our last two cents before we give of our all? Of course not. Jesus said it was true for that widow; but he wants us to figure out what is true for us.
Learning how to imitate the gospel is a very personal creative process. At every age—5, 18, 25, 40, 70 and beyond—we will give differently. We have to keep asking, “How am I giving now?” Regardless of how our lives change, we have to keep taking stock to see how our giving imitates the sincerity and the generosity of the poor widow.
Another realization: everyone, regardless of their mental disabilities, their weaknesses, their flaws, has something valuable to give the Christian community. When we give from whatever we really are—weakness and all—we can begin to receive the abundance that Jesus came to reveal to the world!
Lord, I have no idea where I’m going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself. And the fact t that I think I am doing your will, does not mean that I am actually doing it.
But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you, and I hope that I have this desire .I know that if I do this ,You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I trust you always. Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death,
I will not fear, for you are with me, and you will never leave me face my perils alone.
(–Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude)
November is the month we pray in a special way for all of our faithful departed and for the poor souls in Purgatory. They need and depend on our prayers so that someday they will see God face to face in the Kingdom of Heaven. May I suggest praying three “Hail Mary’s” every day for those in your family who have gone home to the Lord…keep their memory alive and holy in your thoughts and prayers. Someday we will all be together with those who have done before us in faith. In the meantime, remember the words St. Benedict wrote in his Rule for Monks, “Yearn for everlasting life with a holy desire.” And, as St. Paul wrote, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish