“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: 43-44.
Today the Word of God shows us the example of two generous women that gave not from their surplus wealth, but from their sacrifices. The first example is found in the widow in the village of Zarephath. There had been a severe drought in this village that had disobeyed God. The prophet Elijah arrived at this village and found a poor widow and called out to her to “please bring a small cupful of water to drink”. He also asks for “a bit of bread”. She swears by the Lord that she “has only one bread for her and her son; they will eat it and then they will die”. The prophet tells her: “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth’.” She did what the Lord said through the prophet and both her son and herself ate. From that moment on neither the jar of flour not the jug of oil were exhausted.
The Gospel also presents us with an example of generosity. Jesus was seated in front of the treasury in the temple watching people throw their coins. He saw a poor woman who threw some coins in the treasury and said: “All the others have contributed their surplus wealth, but she in her poverty has contributed all she had to live”.
Whenever I read these two readings I take note that these two insignificant people have been remembered for their generosity for more than two thousand years. Let us reflect on the words of Jesus: “This woman has contributed more than anyone because she has given all that she has to live”. What do these words mean? I feel that Jesus wants to tell us that He notices the intentions of the heart more. Jesus once expressed: “I will never forget a cup of water in my name”, because what the Lord sees is our generosity in the giving of our heart to the family, the community, our neighbor, the giving of our time and our talent. He notices how we bring hope and joy to our brothers and sisters sharing with them without expecting anything in return. “Remember that the reward is given by the Lord in the treasury of eternal life.”
Let us ask the Lord in the Eucharist to make us as generous as these two widows to recognize Him when He visits us through our brothers and sisters in need.