A rich business man and his assistant were travelling around a village on a tour.
As they walked along, they saw a boy pulling a plough (= a large farming implement with blades fixed in a frame, drawn over soil to turn it over and cut furrows in preparation for the planting of seeds) which was steered by an old man.
It amused the assistant so much that he insisted on taking a picture of the scene with his little pocket camera. Later he showed the picture to a priest in the next village, remarking about the peculiar spectacle.
“Yes,” said the Priest, “it seems a very strange way to plough a field that way.
But I happen to know the boy and old man well.
They are very poor. However, when the little church was built here in the village, they wanted to contribute something.
>> They had no money.
They had no grain to spare and winter was coming on, so they sold their ox and gave the money to the church building fund, and now, minus the valuable animal, they have to pull the plough themselves.”
The men looked at each other for a moment, then the assistant said, “But what a magnanimous sacrifice! Why did you allow it?”
“They did not feel that way about it” said the priest, “They regarded it as a great joy that they had an ox to give to the Lord’s work!”
Do we have the joy and the generosity to give ourselves, to the Lord and for His works?
Yes, a true charity happens when there is an involvement of sacrifice and surrender.
The Gospel of the Day demonstrates the powerful message of True Giving, through the incident of the Offering of the Poor Widow.
The passage begins with the verse, “When Jesus looked up and saw…” (Lk 21: 1)
Jesus has sharp eyes…
>> He sees what most people miss to see…
>> He perceives what most people ignore…
>> He observes what most people pass on as ordinary…
While all others saw only the corrupt mind of Zacchaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 19:7)
>> He observed the flame of genuine repentance and earnest desire in him.
While all others saw only the filth in the woman caught in adultery, Jesus saw deeper…(Jn 8:3)
>> He observed the spark of pleading for mercy and compassion in her.
While all others saw only a disturbance in the blind beggar Bartimaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 18:39)
>> He observed the flash of true longing and expectant hope in him…
There are many times in our life, when we think or do little things and we would feel them as insignificant.
But the Lord sees deeper…
>> A tiny word of thanks and appreciation…The Lord sees our goodness.
>> A small gesture of timely help and assistance… The Lord sees our nobility.
>> A genuine smile of encouragement and support… The Lord sees our benevolence.
The palace of goodness is built by the tiny bricks of genuine actions and loving thoughts.
And the Lord sees it all – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3)
He doesn’t miss a single gift, small or large.
>> He knows every giver, rich and poor.
This is the significance of being engaged in little and small acts of charity.
>> None of them go down the drain.
Rather, all of them are recorded by God and translates into a fountain of blessings!
The Lord keenly observed the insignificant action of the Poor Widow dropping in two copper coins into the Temple Treasury.
The Temple Treasury was in the Court of the Women, which was on the easternmost part of the Temple.
>> The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes.
Against the walls of this temple area were the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions.
These thirteen chests were shaped like trumpets, narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom.
>> Each one had a different Hebrew letter designating separate offerings and causes.
Into this Temple Treasury, “the poor widow just drops in two small copper coins” (Lk 21:2)
What difference did her two coins make toward meeting the temple budget?
Perhaps the treasurer muttered under his breath as he saw it being dropped:
“Why do people throw such small coins into the treasury? They’re more a nuisance to count than they’re worth!”
But the Lord has a totally different yardstick of measuring and of judging.
People count worth of money by what is given.
>> God counts worth of money by what is left over.
People say “wow” over thicker and fatter amounts given, irrespective of the means and intention.
>> God says “wow” over any amount given, but only when given with the proper means and true intention.
While most people would have sidelined this meager act of giving, the Lord lavishes praise on the poor widow who “gave it all”.
The gifts of the rich would have not cost them much…
>> But the widow may have gone hungry that night because she gave all what she had.
She gave it all, not for any praise or to show-off, but out of love of God and her religion.
What is our attitude in “giving” to God?
Often we give only “leftovers” to God.
>> If we have some food left, after we have relished nicely, we give it off to some hungry
>> If we have anything left, after we’ve spent for all our needs, then we drop a bit for charity.
>> If we have something left, after we have used and its now old, we donate it to the church.
>> If we have some “time” left, after engaging in all leisure, then we give the time to God.
>> If we have some goodwill left, after busying with many works, we offer our thanks to the Lord.
The Lord, seriously, is in no need of the offering of our money.
>> But the Lord, very seriously, is on the lookout for an offering of our hearts!
Let us make not just peripheral contribution of our lives, but rather engage in sacrificial offerings of our self.
As Blessed Mother Teresa would say:
“Give, but give until it hurts…
… It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”
The Lord has given everything for us.
As His disciples, we too are expected to be similar: to give everything to Him.
An “all-giving” Master deserves “all-giving” disciples… Doesn’t He?
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother Mary.
This Feast is a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord.
Technically speaking, we can’t ‘offer’ anything to God because He is the source of everything.
>> All what we are and what we have is His.
But we can surely make a pledge of our lives to Him and live a life united with Him.
This is the offering that is demanded of us…
… an offering of a faithful life
… an offering of a holy life
Yes, as little children, holding the Hands of our Blessed Mamma, may we cry to the Lord – “For You, Forever!”
Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!
God Bless! Live Jesus!