Dear Followers of the Christ,
I know it is never easy to trust God. I say this from years of experience of prayer, but also the many years of being in the public eye as a priest. Trusting God with the little I have to offer the Church and the world is a lifelong project. This all begins with my own relationship with Christ Jesus and my willingness to extend my life beyond my own self-sufficiency.
Today’s gospel, Mark 12:38-44, shows us all that faith is real for those who have little. A poor widow opens her generous hand even though she has little to offer. For her, the amount she gives is huge. She gives from her poverty, not her wealth. This is key to the gospel and to our own formation of faith and service.
Sometimes we can be pretty stingy. We want to make sure that what we give is going to the proper place or what we give is really going to make a difference. This gospel uses money as an image, but really it doesn’t have anything to do with money. The gospel calls us to give our very lives for the benefit of others. We can’t hold back or think twice. On many occasions we are called into events and relationships that require us to offer everything.
These past few months have shown us our capability in responding to people in need from across the country. We did not hesitate to help those whose homes were devastated by fire, floods and storms. We continue to respond with such care and concern. The gospel calls us to give everything we own back to God. This requires of us a great deal of prayer and reflection. This also requires of us a new and profound sense of gratitude. I want to believe that the widow in today’s gospel is the mother of gratitude. From her prayer and reflection, she decided to offer those coins to the treasury. From exploring the depth of her heart, she realizes the beauty of gratitude and extending beyond the confines of her selfishness and old patterns of self-protection.
We listen to this gospel in the last weeks of the liturgical year. This has great significance to us as believers. We listen with a new intent to live our lives in a selfless love on this side of the grave in order to prepare our hearts for heaven. This woman stands as a model to give our lives, our past regrets, our futures, our mistakes and misgivings all back to God. I love her. I want what she has. I want to live a life of faith and of giving even when I know it is so difficult to live.
The widow gave from her poverty. We give back to God from the poverty of our sin, our heartaches and our despair. We give with open hearts and open hands that model her willingness to be changed. Imagine how others, as well as the Church, could be changed by our willingness to give and be grateful.