Widows show us the meaning of a generous and loving heart
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
Two of Sunday's readings put before us the example of two widows, both poor in many ways but supported by their faith, their hope, their love of God. The first reading has the widow providing hospitality to Elijah and being rewarded for her kindness. Her supply of flour and oil never ceased for an entire year!
Then the responsorial psalm refrain boasts: “Praise the Lord, my soul!” I would think those words were on the widow’s lips often that year.
In the Gospel we meet the other widow who, from her poverty, contributes to the temple treasury all she has to live on. Jesus points out that the rich gave from their surplus. She gave from her heart.
The Alleluia verse cites Mt. 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We are invited to give what we can, from the heart.
- What motivates our giving?
- Do we respond from our faith, in our hope, and with love?
My personal encounter with the "widow in the temple:"
A couple years ago, as I entered into the Piggly Wiggly Store in Suamico, I was met with a display of bath tissue and a large sign that stated its price. "It must be on sale," I thought, "as why else would it be so obviously displayed?" The sign didn't specify "sale," but I assumed it must be, since it was in such a prominent place.
"My daughter (single Mom) is always running out of toilet paper," I said to myself, "I'll pick her up a pack," and placed it in my cart, and continued shopping.
When I got to the check-out and placed the toilet paper on the counter, I asked the cashier if the paper was on sale. I explained to her I couldn't tell, but I thought it might be, because of its display. She replied she didn't know, and before she rang it up, she reached for a pocket-book like folder by her cash register. She proceeded to open it and search through what was her own coupon-saver folder.
As I noticed, in wonderment, her looking through it, she was explaining to me how she cuts coupons out at home, saves them in her folder, which she brings to work with her, and uses any that she can on customers' items!
I could not help but be so deeply and warmly touched by her most sincere goodness and generosity in thinking about and sharing with others!
Although she could not find a coupon for the specific product I purchased, her humble and unselfish gesture impacted me in such a way, I could not refrain myself from thanking her and praising her in front of all the other customers.
The next morning when I woke up, the story and the image of "The Widow's Mite" was vividly in my mind.
I knew JESUS and Spirit were 'teaching' me well.
[Mark 12:42-44; Luke 21:1-4]