A Word from Fr. Chris
This poor widow put in more than all the others (Mark 12:43)
Brothers and Sisters, having listened to the First Reading and the Gospel of this Mass we see a similarity in the two speaking of widows who were exemplary and generous in life. Widows are considered as women who have lost their husbands and therefore have become a class of poor people in the society. They therefore are forced into the responsibility and role to provide for their family. Here in these readings we cannot but admire their generosity in a special way to give to others rather than to receive.
This widow of Zarephath responded to offer a cup of water to the man of God, Elijah, as he requested followed by another request to offer him a piece of bread. The woman told him she had only a little quantity of flour and oil and she was gathering sticks to bake bread for herself and her son. After that they had nothing more to live on but to wait for death by starvation. The prophet insisted on his request but promised her that the flour and the oil will never go dry for another year. The woman believed him and provided for his needs. Miraculously the flour and oil did not dry up! What a blessing and reward she received in the end by providing for the prophet the much-needed water and bread.
Also, in the gospel it is the same story and admiration of a poor widow where offerings were being made into the treasury. Many rich people, the gospel said, “made offering from the overflow of their wealth, but a poor widow donated two small coins worth a few cents.” Jesus praised this widow before his apostles saying, “while others contributed from their surplus wealth, the widow contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Can we do that?
The whole scenario here is Our Lord’s teaching about the need for generosity, magnanimity and kindness to others. This does not come because one has an overflow of material things. Most times those who are blessed with materials don’t think, give or show kindness to others. They only concentrate on themselves and immediate loved ones. Generosity to others comes from the heart to give to others even from the little one has without expecting for a return which only God does. We can buy favor and blessings from God from the resources He has given us than to have all to yourself. The bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver”. This is where the biblical Dives (a rich man of the bible) failed in the teaching of Our Lord in relation with the poor man Lazarus who expected to receive the crumbs from this rich man’s table, but that was denied him. Instead dogs were allowed to come and lick his sores (Luke 16:19-31). “Charity”, it is said, “covers a multitude of sins”.