While the rich poured money into the offering and walked away no less wealthy for it, the poor widow put in all she had and left with nothing.
We don’t know what brought the widow to this point or what became of the woman after Jesus spoke of her in Mark Chapter 12, Sunday’s Gospel, but we do know this woman placed her Hope in the Lord, not in the few pennies that would feed her another day. We also know that, unbeknownst to her, her quiet sacrifice was noticed and appreciated by the Lord.
What the widow gave contrasts greatly to today’s obsession with self-recognition and instant gratification.
“Look at me!”
“Look at what I did!”
“Look at how great I am!”
“Pay homage to me and my achievements!”
“Like me! Comment on me! Share me! Follow me!”
We’ve become a total contrast to the poor widow while Jesus looks quietly on.
Jesus also notices something that involves an even greater contrast than our self-promoting society and the humility shown by the poor widow.
He notices how much we are willing to put in…and how much we choose to hold back.
The old woman gave all she had without looking for recognition, a pat on a back, or a social media following. Today, many of us work hard for what we get, but we also hold back our best efforts in areas that matter the most. At the same time, we still expect recognition for giving what we do. We feel we deserve certain things, and both sides of the socio-economic spectrum tend to look down their noses at the other.
The wealthy tend to look down on those on government assistance for being lazy, for not trying harder, and for taking their hard-earned tax dollars. The wealthy tend to buy jewelry, vacations, and evenings out because they deserve them.
The poor tend to scorn the wealthy, jealous of the education they receive, the connections they have, and the material possessions that are out of the reach of many. Those on government assistance tend to collect food stamps, WIC benefits, and healthcare because they deserve them.
What if we stopped pointing fingers and became the poor widow? What if we stopped looking for what we think we deserve and looked at how we could give our all instead? What if we stopped relying on someone else to jump in and save us and reached for what we could do with a True Savior’s help instead?
After all, what do any of us really deserve
and what would we get if we were more like the poor widow?
What if we truly gave all we had
without caring who saw or what we gained from our deeds?
What if you gave all you had?
What if you gave all you had to your education and pushed your children in theirs?
Flukes don’t break the odds. Giving all you have does.
What if you gave all you had to your health and fitness?
We’ve seen turnarounds in ADHD children, in obese adults, in so many other areas.
Flukes don’t make turnarounds. Giving all you have does.
What if you gave all you had to your job?
We’ve seen secretaries become CEO’s of corporations and many shatter glass ceilings.
Flukes don’t rise to the top. Giving all you have does.
What if you gave your all to learn about issues and vote because you realize it does matter?
Flukes don’t stand on values, don’t make strong nations. Giving all you have does.
What if you gave your all to your Marriage and your Family?
What if you expelled words like separation, divorce, and hate from your vocabulary?
What if you stopped playing the martyr and tossed out phrases like staying together for the kids?
What if you woke up today and vowed to find the value God, in His perfect Creation, must have put in your spouse?
What if you saw that value as more valuable than the faults we all have?
What if you recognized your spouse as a Child of God, Loved by God, held in God’s protective embrace?
How would you act toward, speak to, and think of your spouse while he or she is in the arms of the Father?
How will you explain to the Father that you gave your all when He knows what your all amounts to?
How will you explain to your Father why you quit when Jesus and so many of His followers gave so much more and never quit?
How would your Marriage and Family be different if you stopped looking at what others give and simply vow to give your all no matter what the return?
How would you be different if giving your all was not dependent on earthly award?
Strong, Loving families don’t just happen. You must give your all.
What if you gave your all to God?
What if you truly lived the 10 Commandments as they were meant, if you recognized greed as putting things above God, if you recognized destructive words as killing the spirit, if recognized lust as adultery?
What if you truly lived the two Commands Jesus gave – Love your neighbor as yourself and Love the Lord your God above all?
What if Sunday Worship trumped sporting events and birthday parties and family vacations and you never missed a Mass?
What if you humbly gave the glory to God for your successes, big and small, rather than take the credit yourself?
What if you handed over your struggles and sorrows to Jesus on the Cross rather than let them weigh you down, rather than toss them onto the backs of loved ones through blame and accusation?of
What if you paused each day to find the Beauty in God’s Creation and then helped spread that Beauty to those who do not see it?
What if you gave all you had to the offering plate and expected nothing in return?
Saints aren’t just good dead people. They are people who give their all, just as you are called to do.
Notice, none of these questions ask about the other person. None ask what if your neighbor, your child, your spouse…
Your Joy, your accountability, your giving does not come from them. It does not rely on them. You are called to give all, not to point fingers at others who fail to do so. You are called to be the poor widow, when the world is watching but also when no one at all is around to see.
The poor widow gave all.
What are you giving this moment?
What excuses do you give for not giving your all?
Was the poor widow really so poor after all or did she have something most of us don’t know to ask for? How rich would your life be, if you were to become the poor widow?
What is holding you back from attaining all the poor widow had?
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