Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The readings of this Sunday make us more deeply aware that indeed God is the helper of the poor when they turn to him in faith and trust, as simple as this. In the readings we encounter two widows who give generously out of their poverty. Both of them have great trust in God who cares for them. The central point of the message is that the poor are usually more generous than the rich and thus more blessed by God. Because the widow trusts in God, God miraculously feeds a widow because of her faith and trust. Even though she only had a little bit of food left in a time of famine, she trusts in the words of the prophet.

In the Gospel we meet another widow at the temple. Jesus challenges us to imitate her and the poor because of their deep faith and trust in God. There are outstanding contrasts between the widow’s simple piety and the scribes and Pharisees. Some of these religious leaders tended to be arrogant in their behavior. Unlike the rich who were putting a lot of money in the Temple treasury out of their surplus, the poor widow offers everything she possesses “her whole livelihood”. This widow is not only honest with God, but she also deeply trusts in God’s providence. That is the kind of generosity God expects from us!

The simple piety of the widow is contrasted to the attitude full of arrogance of the religious leaders and such behavior it is contrary to our Christian calling. Jesus draws our attention to the times we tend to misuse external symbols to draw attention to ourselves or to remind people of how much we have contributed. Moreover Jesus reminds us that we pray in order to enter into a deep relationship with God, and not to draw attention to ourselves as being prayerful or more religious than others…

The point that Jesus makes this morning [evening] is that the value of what we offer is not necessarily judged by its quantity. What does that mean? Well, our actions must correspond to our inner life, and the Lord uses the beautiful example of a poor widow to underline that message. The spiritual disposition of the giver moved by the spirit of self-sacrifice is more important.

Any spectacle of our contributions before others or demanding recognition renders such gifts just a show, and this is not correct. There is a remarkable relation among the two widows and Jesus. The widow who feeds the prophet Elijah knew the will of God. Similarly, the widow who gives her last two coins also knew the will of God. Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself on the Cross for our sins because knew the will of God. So what is the message? Well, first: the readings challenge us or invite us to imitate the poor so that our self offering and our gifts may come from the poverty of our hearts in deep love and trust in God. Second: what we offer depends on our spiritual disposition of risk-taking and self-sacrifice like the two widows.…

It is true that today, just a short trip to the mailbox, or answering the telephone will provide a good opportunity to share our wealth with others. Someone is always asking for our financial help and in most cases, for a very good cause. There are people in need and people who want to help them. Of course, we can’t say yes to everyone–especially if we are part of a young family who needs to eat, be clothed, and educated. But how often do we give the standard response of “no,” for whatever reason. Are we really unable to help or are we just tired of being asked? If we truly do not have the funds to help, have we honestly searched for ways we can give something other than cash?

Let's think about this morning if we have a generous heart and detached from material things, a heart that seeks to help others but silently, without the noise of trumpets and cymbals. A heart that knows trust that God cares for everyone ■

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris