NOVEMBER 7, 2021

The gospel is a series of contrasts – rich and poor, greedy and generous, arrogant and humble and it is not difficult to guess which of them Jesus is praising.

The lady in question, a poor widow, may not even have heard the praise of Jesus but the disciples were left in no doubt where Jesus’ sympathies lay.

He praises true religion in the widow who gave all she had in the cause of God. He berates the co-existence of long prayers and the greed which took away the property of people like this widow. The religious people of the day were meant to look after the widow and the orphan who had nobody else to fight their cause.

From the gospel we take the invitation of Jesus to give all; the amount given is not the big question, it is the giving of the heart. Jesus knows the listeners would cop on that what he was talking about was more than money – it was to give the first place in life to God and the things of God. That is the call to all of us.

The things of God we can glibly refer to are the love we are called to receive and to give, it is to care for other things of God too like creation, justice, peace and reconciliation. It is to give time to worship God in common and in private – to ensure a space and time for prayer in each day.

The widow of the gospel had a generous heart, as did the widow in the first reading. They looked outward to the needs of other and the things of god, and gave what they could in this direction. Can we not do the same?

Lord teach me to know you more, love you more
and serve you more faithfully in my life – St Ignatius Loyola.

Donal Neary SJ