Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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.”
Good News Reflection:
Today’s Gospel reading challenges us to examine how generously we help the ministries of the Church by contributing financially to the treasury of the Church. When our income isn’t enough to pay for everything that we wish we could buy for ourselves, the widow’s mighty sacrifice is not pleasing to look at. We can appreciate why Jesus praised the widow, but it’s hard to feel safe and secure with the idea of “offering our whole livelihood”.
God’s not really saying that you and I should turn over our entire paychecks to the church. Elsewhere in scripture he makes it clear that he asks for just ten percent of it. “Just” ten percent? Even that seems like way too much, doesn’t it!
And thus we cause others to suffer. Our parishes and Good News Ministries and other charities don’t have enough financial resources to do all the ministering could be done and needs to be done.
Perhaps the widow whom Jesus praised felt free to share the little she had because, in her poverty, her eyes were not set on making big purchases. Economic problems in our world are rooted not just in corporate greed but also in the accumulation of a lot of individual debts that never should have been considered. Many families depend on two incomes for the sake of buying more, more, more.
This lifestyle of overspending is part of a culture that sinfully neglects the needs of the poor. As Catholics, we take seriously the Church’s teachings on social justice. We know we need to become more like Christ, oriented toward making sacrifices for the sake of others.
We can adopt the same attitude as the widow whom Jesus praised. She made an offering that wasn’t easy. In so doing, she sacrificed not only coins but her very self. If a gift we give or a good deed we do is easy and comfortable, it’s not a sacrifice. Most of us donate from our surplus and think that’s a sacrifice! This is why your parish and other charitable organizations (including Good News Ministries) cannot help all those who would benefit from their services.
And (some readers will find this unbelievable until they honestly look into the facts) it’s the reason why climate change is occurring — our personal comforts are indeed interfering with the Earth’s natural processes, and this is already devastating the lives of many who are poor and vulnerable. Pope Francis wrote about this in Laudate Si (here’s a link to it: vatican.va/content/francesco/...enciclica-laudato-si.html).
Let’s put our faith into action. What happened to the widow after she went home? Did she starve? Wait a minute. Do we believe that God would praise her for making such a huge act of love and then crush her as if her good deed had been foolish? I know from personal experience how scary this level of trust can be and how faith-building it can be. Join me in the spiritual growth that comes from placing sacrificial trust in God’s goodness!
Please remember the needs and staff of Good News Ministries. Visit gnm.org/donate to join us in spreading Christ’s love and peace and the Holy Spirit of Truth throughout the world. If you cannot donate money, please see other ways you can make a difference: gnm.org/support-beyond-donations/ or become a become a Good News Missionary without leaving home!
Beloved Father: Give me a helpful and generous heart, able to give away whatever I need most, because of love for You and my brothers and sisters. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica