34th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Rev 14:1-3, 4b-5
I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.
Gospel: Lk 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
TRUST IN GOD’S PROVIDENCE: In today’s gospel Jesus speaks about the offertory made by the poor widow in the temple. The wealthy people who became rich by robbing the impoverished people offered money to the temple seeking forgiveness for their guilt and sin. As for the poor widow, she offered all she had because she trusted in God’s providence. On November 08, 2015, Pope Francis during the angelus, explained about this gospel passage saying: ‘Today Jesus tells us that the measurement is not the quantity but the fullness. It is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart. To love God “with all your heart” means to trust Him, His providence, and to serve him in the poorest brothers and sisters without expecting anything in return’. We are called to follow the heart measurement that calls for sharing all our resources- money, talents, energy, time- to the extent of affecting the personal needs and life.
Prayer: We shall pray today that we may serve others despite the physical fatigue and that we may feed the hungry despite our hunger.
GIVING OVER ALL LIFE: Daniel and his friends offered their entire life to God. That is why they refused to defile themselves with the king’s food. They set all their trust in God’s providence. Indeed, their giving over all life was rewarded by God who kept them healthier and wiser ten times more than all the magicians and enchanters. Likewise, Jesus in the Gospel commends the widow’s offering as the best. She did not come for self-exhibition but out of her poverty, she offered her all. Her offering was a giving over of her entire life which means she placed herself solely on Divine Providence. As I approach the altar to make my offering today, I need to ask myself what am I holding back from God? As Christians let us offer all our lives to God.
PRAYER: O Lord, grant me a cheerful heart to make pleasing offering to you.
TRUE GIVING: Give until it hurts said Mother Teresa. The poor widow is a noble example of selfless giving. She didn’t set aside a share for security, even refused to ensure supplies for another meal. She didn’t believe in securities. A gift shows itself valuable in the measure it deprives of the giver. And so Jesus said: “she gave away everything.” Sensitivity to persons and realities shows the donor in his true colors. How sensitive one can become? This demonstrates the human substance. When you feel for another in need, when you turn empathetic to the sufferings of others, you share of God’s own sensitivity. Imitate the Lord who loved to the extent that he gave His only son that the world be redeemed.
MAKING MYSELF VULNERABLE BEFORE GOD: The Hebrew scriptures consistently talk about three categories of the poor: the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. These three groups were considered the most vulnerable people. Widows were vulnerable because they had no protection and upkeep provided by a man. Probably widows were also dressed in a specific way, very easily identifiable, that is why, Jesus is able to spot the widow in today’s gospel. In this context, what is really powerful is that this widow put into the temple treasury all her living; total surrender. Jesus highlights this as a necessary virtue in our relationship with God. Am I able to totally surrender myself in front of God – making myself vulnerable and dependent before God?