“Responding with faithfulness and gratitude even in fiery and harsh situations of life!”
(Based on Tob 12:1, 5-15, 20 and Mk 12:38-44 – Saturday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)
A missionary in a particular place came across a man who had bandaged and scarred hands.
When asked what had happened, he said, “My neighbour’s straw roof was on fire.
I helped him to put it out and that’s how my hands were burned.”
It was only later that the whole story was known.
The neighbour hated him and had in anger, set his roof on fire…
… while his wife and children were asleep in the hut.
They were in great danger.
Providentially, the Christian was able to put out the fire in his house on time.
But sparks flew over to the roof of the man who had set the house on fire…
… and his house started to burn.
There was no hate in the heart of this Christian!
There was only love for his enemy
And so, he did everything he could to put out the fire in his neighbour’s house.
That is how his own hands were burned!
Life was being pretty harsh and “fiery” to him…
… but he chose to respond in faithfulness and gratitude.
Am I loyal and dedicated to do my responsibilities even if unrewarded?
The Gospel of the Day presents an act of faithfulness and courage by a widow who make a “small but highly significant contribution” 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…
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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…
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?
St Paul beautifully inspires us by his life of commitment, as we hear him proclaim the words of hope:
“For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing!” (2 Tim 4:6-8)
Life will often present “fiery and harsh” situations…
… can we still chose to respond in faithfulness and gratitude.
… can we still remain loyal and dedicated to my responsibilities?
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!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST – TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN
The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man…
… nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human.
He became truly man while remaining truly God. JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN.
During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
The first heresies denied not so much Christ’s divinity as his true humanity (Gnostic Docetism).
From apostolic times, the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God’s Son “come in the flesh”.
But already in the third century, the Church in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption.
The first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son of God is “begotten, not made, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father”…
… and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God “came to be from things that were not” and that he was “from another substance” than that of the Father (Cf. CCC # 464-465)