prayer and action
32nd Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – November 8th 2015
In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.
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.
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.
The Eucharist each week is our involving ourselves in the total loving of Jesus for his Father and for us, especially the poor. This means we rejoice in the message of Jesus, and that he is on the side of the poorest, and on everyone’s side when we are not at our best. It is also the challenge for us to be that loving energy of God for the world in which we live in, for those who are near and for those who are far away. We are the ones to show God’s care for creation, justice, peace and reconciliation and to give time to worship God in common and in private – to ensure a space and time for prayer in each day.
THE GENEROUS HEART
The widow of the gospel had a generous heart, as did the widow in the first reading (1 Kings 17:10-16). They looked outward to the needs of others and gave what they could. 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
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger