REFLECTION FOR TODAY
June 5, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus 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. Mk. 12:41-42
The story of the poor widow’s generosity in our gospel reference today demonstrates powerfully the humility and lowliness that please Jesus. We may think that being humble means allowing others to take advantage of us, but this poor widow demonstrated that true humility means radical dependence on God.
The widow’s humility is even more remarkable when she is compared with those who put large sums into the treasury. Many of those donors may have given the amount laid down by law, still, it was money they could spare and could go away satisfied with their contribution and yet fail to grasp how God wanted them to depend on Him for everything. The widow on the other hand gave all she had.
As soon as Jesus saw this widow contribute her “few cents” worth of coins, Jesus was moved with love. He immediately used this as an opportunity to teach a lesson to His disciples. He called them over and explained that this poor widow had contributed more than anyone because “she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
It is obvious that Jesus judges generosity far differently than the world. What does it mean to be generous? Generosity certainly applies to how you use your money. But it also applies to your time, energy, commitment, and every other aspect of your life. To be generous, according to Jesus, is to give all you have, your “whole livelihood.”
You accomplish this goal when you make God, and His holy will the central and most important part of your life. You can hold nothing back from Him! Does this mean that if you want to strive for perfection, then you must give away all you own? Perhaps the best answer is both “Yes” and “No.” The answer is “Yes” in the sense that we must become completely detached, on an interior and spiritual level, from everything that is not part of God’s perfect will.
The answer is “No” in the sense that, for most people, it is part of His holy will that you own a house, a car, other possessions, and do enjoy other material comforts with your family and friends. The key is the interior detachment and the central focus upon the glory of God and the total service of His holy will. Love of God and neighbor, and freedom from selfishness, will be the guiding factors in these decisions.
Reflect, today, upon whether material possessions and wealth possess you more than you possess them. Are you controlled by desires for more and struggle with disordered attachments to the things you do have? Are you able to make love of God and love of neighbor the central focus of your life and use all that you have, in accord with God’s will, for those purposes? Reflect upon the generosity in the heart of this humble and poor widow and allow our Lord to teach you how to be generous through her holy witness.
Generous Lord, You bestow upon us all good things. You enrich our lives with Your love and mercy which are the true treasures we must seek. Fill my heart with the same generosity exemplified by this poor widow so that I, too, will imitate the total self-giving that she lived in imitation of You. Jesus, I trust in You.