YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS A GIFT FROM GOD
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Our ability to give remains a central aspect of our identity as sons and daughters of God for everything we have is a gift from God, a gift that truly realizes itself by giving without reservation even when it involves giving our all. May God bless us with the grace to open our minds and hearts and hands toward others in generously giving, for they are refilled when they are open in giving what they contain; Amen.
The First Reading (I Kgs 17:10-16) and the Gospel Reading (Mk 12:38-44) present to us two scenes of two widows whose generous and open heart and hands, inspired by faith, are set before us today as a model for true Christian giving! The First was the encounter of the Prophet Elijah with the widow from Sidon who believed the word of God through the Prophet Elijah that the “jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.” Inspired by this and trusting in God she baked the last handful of meal she had, her very last, which she shared with the Prophet, and behold, the word of God came to fulfillment in her life. Second was the widow recognized and praised by our Lord Jesus Christ for “she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.” The link between the two widows is that they gave everything they had to live on, their last resort! Their giving their all was a sign of their absolute trust in God! Their giving was a sign of their faith! Their giving was their true realization of themselves! Their giving was sacrificial and this distinguished them in the midst of others!
Every giving must be sacrificial to be acceptable to God. The model offering on the Cross was completely sacrificial, it was kenotic, and so were the widows’ offerings. Firstly, “the woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son”, and also secondly, “for others have all put in money they had over but she has put in everything she possessed.” Giving is empty if it contains nothing of sacrifice! We give without sacrifice when we give to be recognized by men and women and be praised by those around us! We give without sacrifice when we give to subject others to our selfish manipulations and gratification, a type of giving that is devoid of charity! We give without sacrifice when we give without trust in God’s providence! We give without sacrifice when we give only what we can comfortably spare! We give without sacrifice when we extend our hands without a corresponding extension of our hearts, neither with sincere sentiments of the soul nor with the right reaction of the spirit nor with the inspiration from faith! We give without sacrifice when our giving is devoid of the Christ-element! The Christ-element, the surge of the sacrificial, is what we see in the two instances of giving in the readings of today! It is this same element that is characteristic of the one and unique Priesthood of Christ as we heard in the Second Reading (Heb 9:24-28) who “has made his appearance once and for all, to do away with sin by sacrificing Himself.” In giving in this form we behave like Christ, we become truly Christians, followers of Christ and doers of God’s will, who gives Himself to us without reservation. In our different communities we have need of this stock of persons whose sacrificial giving, after the Model of Christ and the examples of these widows, will lead to the transformation our society needs. A society that forms her citizens on receiving without giving sacrificially is heading towards self-destruction, for in giving we open our hands to receive what we have most need of!
May God the First and Last Giver, Who gives us abundantly and beyond our merits and expectations, create within us a generous heart to recognize that the measure of giving is to give without measure; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE
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