A money-collection drive was being been conducted in a particular Church for a particular intention.
The people were free to put in as much contribution as they wanted for the noble cause.
One gentleman stood up and announced a rather large contribution, and the people applauded greatly.
A few moments later, an old lady stood up and announced her donation.
But it was greeted with silence.
The priest, however, in reply to the cold response of the people, stood up and said emphatically, “Ladies and gentleman, I believe I hear the applause of the nail-scarred Hands!”
The people understood what the priest meant, and slowly but surely applauded the old lady’s generosity.
The Gospel of the Day presents such a similar act of appreciation by Jesus over the apparently “tiny” yet really “great” contribution by a widow to the Temple Treasury.
The passage of the day is the culmination of the 12th Chapter of the Gospel of St Mark.
This has been a volatile passage…
1. Jesus tells the parable of the Tenants (Mk 12: 1-12)
… thereby giving out a sharp message to the Jews to accept the Messiah and not forfeit the many graces and blessings that they had been blessed with.
2. Jesus gives a fitting response to the question of paying taxes (Mk 12: 13-17)
… thereby exhorting the concerned people to not get stuck to earthly obligations and instead gear one’s life in total allegiance to the Lord Creator
3. Jesus corrects the false notion regarding the teaching on Resurrection (Mk 12: 18-27)
… thereby challenging to live a life in worthiness of eternity and to have the correct and deeper faith in the Living God and His Teachings
4. Jesus makes clear the greatest commandments (Mk 12: 28-34)
… thereby inviting all to understand that there is only one true God and He deserves all the love and affection of our being and this love ought to be expressed in love of neighbour.
5. Jesus points out from Scripture that He is the Messiah, the Lord (Mk 12: 35-37)
… thereby opening the eyes of the people to read Scripture with greater openness to the Spirit and an invitation to accept Him as the Lord of their lives.
These five pronouncements finally concludes with Jesus denouncing the action of the scribes especially in devouring the lives of the poor widows.
Jesus says, “The scribes devour the houses of widows, and as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers” (Mk 12: 40)
• Widows were an easy trap to be cheated…
• Widows were easy pickings to be exploited…
However, the chapter ends with a beautiful counteract…
A widow – symbol of all the other widows, who have been cheated, or oppressed or facing humiliations – comes in to the Temple and drops in her ‘everything’ in the treasure!
This is indeed a powerful symbol of faithfulness and duty…
• She is a symbol of being oppressed – yet she is heartily generous
• She is an object of being condemned – yet she is mightily liberal
And she becomes a symbol of self-giving and total-emptiness.
This poor widow becomes a great challenge for us in our lives…
• Life may bite us hard with cruel luck and bad destiny…
• Life may oppress us through various elements in the society…
• Life may cheat us in the form of many people or circumstances…
Yet, through all this…
Like this poor widow,
• Can I be firm to still give to God in gratitude?
• Can I be faithful to do my responsibilities even if unrewarded?
May the Blessed Mother Mary, who Herself was a poor widow, and gave Herself entirely to the Lord…
And Jesus, who like the poor widow, gave Himself entirely to His people and in doing God’s Will…
… be our inspiration, our strength and our hope!
God Bless! Live Jesus!