31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 4, 2018
“…but she, from her poverty, contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
I love the story of the widow’s mite. Have you ever wondered where Jesus sat when he went to the synagogue? Well, this time he sat near the collection box and watched people making their contributions, watching them. If someone next to you in church made a point to see what you had written on your envelope, this would be considered very rude, but Jesus does this to make a point: God sees everything.
There is so much to learn from this little story. So often we tend to judge ourselves and others by how wealthy we are, or how big and beautiful the house is, or how productive we are. Many people find it hard to cope, for example, when illness or unemployment makes them seem less valuable to others, less worthwhile. That’s when we need to remember the two-cent rule: God only expects of us what we are able to give him, even if it is only 2 cents, as long as we have put our whole heart into it.
Jesus was not impressed with the long-flowing robes of the Scribe, who was in fact advertising his wealth and position. These robes were quite impossible to work in or even walk fast in! They were worn quite deliberately to let everyone know the wearer was a member of the leisured class. This kind of showiness is offensive, not only to God, but to most everyone else as well.
But here comes this poor widow. Nobody notices her coming in. She is not important. She has almost nothing to contribute. No one wants her opinion or expects her to be a major donor in some capital campaign. She is dressed modestly. She does not wish to be noticed, for what she is offering is very small, very poor. What good can 2 cents do, after all? She slips in and out of the synagogue, as it were, unnoticed. But she is the one who is singled out by Christ, for she gave God everything, even though it was, in fact, only 2 cents.
How thankful we ought to be for this story. Here, we learn so much about the mind of God! The Lord is often most pleased with the little things we do, when we put our whole heart into them. The world generally saves its rewards and honors for those who have made a big name for themselves, done great deeds, acted heroically, or given vast sums of money. All of these things are good, even necessary. But we must always remember that God sees things very differently than we do. Remember the two-cent rule:
God only expects of us what we are able to give him, even if it is only 2 cents,
as long as we have put our whole heart into it.