Saturday of the 9th Week of the Year
1st Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-8
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44
Little Things Mean a Lot
Religion loses meaning if its leaders focus upon splendid vestments, guaranteed front seats in synagogues and churches, places of honour at banquets, long prayers. To correct such a distortion of religion, Jesus warmly praises the old woman putting her two small copper coins, worth about a couple of cents, into the collection box. In her intent, she contributed more than all the others; for they gave from their surplus while she gave from her dire need. This is another way of arriving at the end of the journey and of finishing the race. The widow gave herself totally to the Lord.
The widow’s mite
The phrase widow’s mite has made its way into the English language. It often refers to something small which, nonetheless, displays a tremendous generosity of spirit. The widow gave a very small amount of money to the temple treasure, but in giving that very little, she was giving everything she had to live on. Jesus identifies her to his own disciples as an example of a wonderful generosity of spirit. Jesus often encouraged his disciples to learn from people who were not his disciples. At this point in the gospel Jesus is in the Jerusalem, about to face into his passion. This woman who gave everything was a figure of Jesus who was soon to give everything on the cross. This seemingly insignificant widow who seemed to give next to nothing was, in reality, a living witness of divine generosity. The widow reminds us that there are saints in our midst that we don’t often notice. A wonderful generosity of spirit can reveal itself in gestures that appear very ordinary and even insignificant to those observing. There can be times in our lives when we appear to have very little, in all kinds of ways, but if we give generously out of the little we have, we are rich in the eyes of the Lord. [MH]
St Kevin, abbot, and Ss. Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs
Coemgen. Caoimhin or Kevin (498-618) is an Irish saint who first live as a hermit and then founded a monastery at Glendalough in County Wicklow, which became a famous centre of learning. He is remembered in popular culture as an ascetic who lived a very simple life, close to nature. Saint Kevin is co-patron of Dublin archdiocese. Charles Lwanga (1860-1886) was a Ugandan Catholic catechist martyred for his faith, along with 11 others, during the 1886 persecution under King Mwanga.