Gospel – Mark 12:38-44
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“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.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
In this week’s gospel, we read again how Jesus calls attention to the hypocrisy of the religious authorities in ancient Jewish society. Instead of acting as the servants of God they are supposed to be, they add to the suffering of the poor, strutting around in their fancy clothes, praying in public for everyone to see, and seeking to be honored in social events. As Jesus is teaching in the temple area, he notices that a poor widow gives two small coins. Jesus then praises the generosity of the poor widow, who represents the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable in Jesus’ time. The poor widow clearly has great faith that God will provide for her. He then contrasts the generosity of the widow with the disposition of the rich who gave out of their surplus, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
During the founding of the Institute, John Baptist de La Salle advised the early Brothers that were starving to rely on God’s providential care and that God would provide. One of them remarked that it was easy for De La Salle to say because he had his family wealth and his status as a Canon at the cathedral in Rheims. So, De La Salle gave it all away. He gave his portion of the family wealth to the poor and marginalized masses of seventeenth century Rheims, which was quite a risk. Now he too was relying on God’s providential care. Now in De La Salle’s dependence upon God, he gave of himself greatly even at his own expense. Like the poor widow in the gospel, he had faith that God would provide for all that De La Salle and the Brothers needed.
It is very easy to give out of abundance and that’s not necessarily bad, but it’s even harder to give when you have next to nothing or when you aren’t sure how you are going to make ends meet. Where and how are we called to give? How much are we willing to give? Is it to the point that we are also dependent on God’s providential care?
Brother Joseph (JD) Macioce
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.