This is the third time I sit in front of my computer to write about an important topic and all of the sudden something pops up. Yes, this is priestly life; it gets busier when you less expect it. The first article I started and never finished was about relaxation and how to rest in a busy world. Another article I left unfinished eas about Holloween and All Saints Day. The third time, I got blessed because I finished writing in the busiest day of the week for us priests. Anyways, today I want to reflect on the Thirty second Sunday in ordinary time Gospel.
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.” Mk 12, 41-44
Today’s reading is very interesting because Jesus is pointing out what is the meaning of giving. Most of the time, we give what is left over, but the real meaning is not only the giving part but the attachments we have: all those feeling of security in what we physically have instead in what really own. With this reflection, I just want to say that not even our lie is ours. We pretend that we own many things, but that is just an illusion.
How many times we give more than we want and then we feel like we give too much. If what you give is directed to a person or an entity that does not even recognizes you that is even more painful. What is at stake here? Without a doubt, I would say that what is at stake is our own relationship with the Lord and his eternal plan of salvation.
Deacon John Barna was preaching about giving a couple of pennies to parishioners before Mass started. This was an experiment he did and guess what? more than 2000 pennies distributed came back to the basket. What did he learn from this experiment most of the parishioners gave back those pennies who are kind of the leftovers. I have seen people in the streets tossing to the floor pennies, nickels, and dimes because we do not want those. We just simply have a container filled to the top with coins waiting to have enough to bring them to the coin converter machine or just giving those away.
That is the same rationale we have with our faith. Many times people come to me for counseling and what I found interesting is that they just give little time for the Lord: I have seen in this people a weak prayer life and the practice of their faith is at the minimum expression. We are not aware that if we invest in giving, we can be rich in grace. That is something we lack in our faith: a giving approach.
Some people can say: Father I am a taker and not a giver that is how I am successful? To this question, I would answer that in our journey of faith success is measured differently. In matters of faith, success can be interpreted as how I am overcoming temptation, distraction, despair, suffering, etc… In matters of our world, success is measured in how famous, powerful and rich you are. There are two different understandings of success:
accumulation of wealth/power/fame: successfulness by standards of our culture.
unattachment of things / attached to the Lord: successfulness according to our Lord.
When you see all these wildfires that are consuming entire towns and people under mandatory evacuation do not want to leave their homes, you can see how the culture of attachment to material things is permeating every single fiber of our society. Some people had died in their houses because they do not want to abandon them. It is time to reflect in the poor widow that gave everything that she had. We do not see our reward right away because is not given immediately (but invisible graces) because God is not an immediate rewarding machine. This is time to ask ourselves what is the meaning of giving in our personal lives. May the Lord bless you through this reflection.