He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.-Luke 21:1-4 NRSV
Gifts Of The Poor Widow
The Gospel reading from today’s Mass always brings up powerful emotions in me. It is something, no matter what age we live in, can be understood. The poor widow who barely has two pennies to rub together gives it all. In my finance career I have known many such people.
They get their social security check, which is minuscule, and pay the bills and buy food. At the end very little is left until that check comes again the following month. However they also seemed to be the most joy filled people that I have ever met. Life is not about stuff and these individuals always put the Lord first. They admitted their struggles and were thankful for the provision of the Lord.
A Powerful Lesson
The story of the poor widow and the gifts that she gave are a powerful lesson for us today. What exactly are we giving to God? Giving money to your parish is part of it, but what are we giving?
Some would say that if we are not giving 10% of our pre-tax income then we are not giving enough. If you can do that then more power to you, but do not judge people who can’t. That is legalism.
In other words it is not all about money. Yes we should support our parish and the mission of the church monetarily if we are able. In fact that is one of the precepts of the church. There are other ways of supporting the mission of the church. You can give your time and volunteer. There are many jobs that volunteers do and they are crucial.
Don’t get caught up with money and don’t let people shame you if you are unable to do more monetarily. God knows your heart. There is a big difference between one who gives a dollar because it is all they can spare and $100 when there is $100,000 in the bank. Who gave more? What was the percentage given?
Which one are we? Are we giving everything we can? Again this is not just about money but the other gifts that we have been blessed with. There is a gift that you have that can be used by the church. That is a form of giving and is much needed.
Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice.-St. John Chrysostom
It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially.-St. Francis de Sales
Our actions have a tongue of their own; they have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds prove the lover more than words.-St. Cyril of Jerusalem