June 10, 2023
Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
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. Mark 12:41–42
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.”
Our Lord 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.
With that said, there are certainly some who live in excess and indulgence in our world and, as a result, are deeply attached to their extravagant lifestyle. And there are some who are physically poorer who are just as attached, interiorly, to that which they do not have. For example, what if this poor widow, instead of giving her last few cents, sat in the Temple area watching as the wealthy put in large sums of money and allowed herself to grow in jealousy and greed. This interior attitude would have been in stark contradiction to the generous and trusting spirit she acquired through her total generosity. True generosity is a fundamental disposition of our lives. It means that we have chosen to imitate our Lord through a total self-giving of ourselves to His holy will. And that does include seeing all that we possess as belonging to Christ for the service of His holy will.
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.
My 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.