YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Faith is trusting in divine Providence.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
GOSPEL: MK 12:38-44
” *Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter lustre when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all.”*
+ St. John Chrysostom
My dearest children of God, may the peace and love of God fill and transform your lives as we gather around the Lord’s table to share in this Eucharistic banquet.
The readings of today remind us that God appreciates our little sacrifices and honour them with His blessings.The readings invite us to live in total commitment to serving God with a humble and generous heart, free from pride and prejudice.
The first reading and the Gospel today present poor widows who sacrificially gave their whole lives and means of livelihood to God, symbolizing the supreme sacrifice Jesus would offer by giving His life for others.
In the first reading, taken from the First Book of Kings, a poor widow who has barely enough food for herself and her son welcomes the prophet Elijah as a man of God, shares her food with him and receives her reward in the form of a continuing daily supply of food.
In the Gospel, Jesus contrasts the external signs of honour sought by the scribes with the humble, sacrificial offering of a poor widow and declares that she has found true honour in God’s eyes. The poor widows in both the first reading and the Gospel gave away all that they possessed for the glory of God. The sacrificial self-giving of the window in the first reading and the Gospel reflects God’s love in giving His only Son for us and Christ’s love in sacrificing himself on the cross.
Last Sunday readings emphasised the centrality and inevitability of love in our Christian lives. The readings of this Sunday highlight instances of a concrete demonstration of this love in the lives of these poor widows. Why I love God so much is because He appreciates our little efforts and gifts. God does not look at the number of your gifts but the quality of your love. *God determines the value of a gift by what the giver keeps, not what the giver gives;* this is counter-intuitive
As humans, we tend to praise those who contributed more. Most times, we praise those who donated more without questioning the source of their donations. Those who defraud others to pay in God’s temple may be praised in the eyes of men but their gifts are filthy in the eyes of God. Jesus applauded the widow in the gospel because gave all she has to live on; she emptied her purse; she offered her whole livelihood; this is a perfect gift. Under the Mosaic law, no provisions were made for widows they were left dependent partly on the affection of relations, more especially of the eldest son, whose birthright, or extra share of the property, imposed such a duty upon him…”. The loss of a husband in ancient Israel was equally a social and economic tragedy; this was the economic situation with widows in Israel. It was against this cultural and economic background that these widows demonstrated an extraordinary kindness to God through their selfless gifts which shows their absolute faith in God. This is the kind of gift that mother St. Theresa described as: *” giving even when it hurts”* . If you think these windows are better than you, then don’t give. *If today like Ananias and Saphirra you decide to keep back what belongs to God or what should be given out in charity to those in need, you are indeed on the surest route to poverty and bankruptcy.* As Christians, we have to appreciate those poor ones in our communities and Churches who make contributions from their “nothing” because of their love for God and His Church. We have to appreciate and honour them because it is their continuous kindness and generosity that sustains the Church, not those ‘seasonal big donations’. When we appreciate the little we receive from others we encourage them to give more.
In this hard times, many of us do face financial difficulties of varying degree, but, the challenge is: Do we look at our circumstances and think we should give more or give less? When economic pressures threaten to smother us, do we close the purses/wallets tighter or do we open them wider? God is not in any way asking us to empty all we have at the collection box, or in the hands of others because He knows we have bills to pay. But the questions is, are we ready to offer what matters most to us in order to solve the problems of others or encourage missionary works in the Church. The woman of Zarephath welcomed Elijah and in faith offered all she had, believing in God’s providence. In this wonderful gesture of love and faith,h, the saying that: *”givers never lack”* is a truism. God is faithful to His promises… ” _your jar shall never go empty nor the jug of oil run dry”_ . *You may call the actions of these widows heroic but their heroism lies in that faith that propelled them to give all they had without worrying about tomorrow or counting the cost.* When faith is at work human logic is void.
In this Mas,s, we ask God to enkindle in us the spirit of generosity and love towards His Church and our fellow human beings. We pray for the faith that inspires kindness. May God continue to provide for us as we give without counting the cost. May your pocket never run empty and the good source of your income never dry up as you show generosity to God and others.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi
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