When speaking about this Gospel, Pope Francis said, “Faced with the needs of others, we are called to deprive ourselves of essential things, not only the superfluous; we are called to give the necessary time, not only what remains extra; we are called to give immediately and unconditionally some of our talent, not after using it for our own purposes or our own group”
Today’s Gospel is one of those readings that hits me in the gut–hard–every time I read it. God, by giving His only Son as a ransom for our sins, taught us how to love sacrificially and unconditionally. The image of the Crucifix is the image of love because it is an outpouring of love that allows for us to be cleansed from our sins and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The image of the poor widow who offers her whole livelihood is the image we should imitate when we offer ourselves to Christ at the foot of the Cross.
Christ presents this poor widow as a model of charity and generosity. In a time when widows were considered totally defenseless, Christ raises her up as an example of how to live a virtuous life. He chose to point out a woman who is the meekest of the crowd because he sees her, not for her poverty, but for the love and faith she shows. She does not do so in order to gain praise but rather to give praise. In giving her whole livelihood, she submits herself to the Will of God and trusts in His goodness and mercy.
My favorite part of this Gospel is that it serves as a reminder that Christ knows each one of us. He knows our hearts. He knows exactly how much we have and exactly how much we give. We have no need to impress Him or try to prove our worth by means of grand gestures. In the same way that he saw “wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury,” so too, “he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.”
We take nothing with us when we go, so why do we spend so much of our lives collecting things? We collect clothes and movies and books. We save up for the fastest car or the biggest house or the best vacations. But the fact of the matter is, one day we are going to answer God’s question of, “And what did you save for me? What did you collect for me?”
As we approach Thanksgiving this week may we be grateful for all the blessings in our lives and may we take the opportunity to love sacrificially and unconditionally because, as St. Mother Teresa said, “I have found the paradox; if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The sacrificial love we show will only produce more love.
Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.