A couple of widows make an appearance in today’s readings. In the first reading, Elijah has an encounter with a widow. Because of her faithfulness in believing the prophet, God provided her with a year’s worth of food. In the Gospel reading from Mark 12, a poor widow puts two small coins into the treasury of the temple.
Rich people were coming in and putting large sums of money into the treasury. Jesus took note of this and said, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” In other words, it was no big deal for the wealthy to contribute loads of cash, but the widow gave all she had. For her, it was a stretch…a big one.
We sometimes think we’re being so magnanimous when we give away a bunch of junk. Clean out your closets or your garage and make a delivery to Goodwill or Catholic Charities and we get warm fuzzies about ourselves. But it was no stretch. Maybe the lesson we can learn from today’s Gospel is that we need to give until it hurts. Maybe the spiritual life is like the physical world…no pain, no gain.
Father, forgive us for the times when we are stingy, when we only give You our feeble leftovers. Help us to give all. Amen.