Daily Reflection – 11/22/2021
He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
After Jesus had finished his “formal” teaching in the courtyard of the Temple of Jerusalem, he began to “people watch,” in order to continue to instruct his apostles about how to put what he taught into action.
Many rich people, St. Luke tells us, were putting in large sums and “making a lot of noise” on the treasury trumpet. But then a poor widow came and put in two lepta, two small coins which together were worth less than a penny and likely barely made a sound.
Then Jesus gave a surprising lesson that obviously the disciples never forgot. Jesus praised the poor widow rather than all the rest, saying that she had contributed more than all them, for they “gave out of their surplus, but she gave everything she had, all she had to live on.”
This widow, because of her poverty, could easily have been excused for giving nothing. She could have easily chosen to drop into the trumpet only one of the coins and kept the other for herself. But she didn’t. She gave it all. And her generosity was praised by Jesus and will remain until the end of time. What could have moved her to give to the temple even what she needed to survive? There’s only one reason: her deep faith.
She believed not simply that God exists, or that he worked various miracles in the past to help her people. She believed so much in him and was so convinced of the importance of what was going on in God’s house that she wanted to dedicate her life and all her goods to continuing and expanding that work of salvation. She accounted the continuance and expansion of that work even more than her own life.
The point is not how much we contribute, but how much of a sacrifice it is; not how much we give but how much we have left over.
This woman sacrificed her entire livelihood, spending herself and what she had in the service of the Lord. She had probably regularly entrusted herself and her children to God’s providence and the Lord had never let her down. She gave everything in trust to God, showing us how to live in a way that Jesus would be tempted to pull the saints aside in heaven and point out the way we are spending ourselves in his service, seeking to build up his Kingdom.
Faith and trust in God. Giving what she had out of love. Those coins, given in love, said all that we need to know about her and the way of our faith.
Each of us needs to start each day by acknowledging his role in our lives, by accepting that his will for us should always prevail and that we, in gratitude for his love, will mark our lives with love.
We do by always appreciating who are the key people in our lives, by not taking them for granted, by regularly using the words “I love you” as a sacramental moment, making present that which is so fundamental to our lives.
We then extend that love to those whom we come in contact with throughout the day. Our words and our actions together will speak of how dearly we cherish the gift of his love.
Will we be successful every day? Probably not. But we try. Trying is the sign of a disciple. Every disciple is a work in progress. So, we don’t despair. We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail. We stop, acknowledge what we did not do and move on to do it better.
Guiding us always is his love. Marking us always as his disciple is our sharing that love and giving all that we can, each day,
If we are going to be disciples of Jesus, if we are going to follow the commandment of love, we must celebrate that love and work each day to bring it alive in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds and you give without measure. All that I have comes from you. May I give freely and generously in gratitude for all that you have given to me. Take my life and all that I possess – my gifts, talents, time and resources – and use them as you see fit for your glory.”
Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given with a grudge or for display loses its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is precious. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely a penny – how insignificant a sum – because it was everything she had, her whole living.