In today’s readings we see a parallel between the First Reading and the Gospel: the generosity of a widow who shows faith and hope. In the First Reading Elijah asks for a handout while Israel is suffering an extended drought. The widow doesn’t disagree, she simply thinks she’d have to choose between her, her son, or Elijah: one would starve to death for the sake of another, and ultimately as well. Elijah gives her an opportunity in faith to trust in the Lord’s Providence: she’ll be provided for until the drought ends for her generosity. She provides for her son and helps the Lord through helping Elijah and everything works out.
In the Gospel Our Lord is moved by the generosity of a poor widow who gives all she has to the Temple treasury. She sacrifices her livelihood for the sake of giving alms, and no one notices her, because the amount seems so insignificant. It’s not insignificant to her, which is why it is so generous. She’s not doing it for good public relations, as the rich men are doing out of their surplus. She’s not even negotiating like Elijah and the widow in the First Reading. Little does she know that God himself is looking upon her sacrifice with contentment through the eyes of the Son, and making it an example for the disciples to follow.
We all know the expression “give ’til it hurts”; if we put a little of our comfort and livelihood on the line in giving, whether time, talent, or treasure, Our Lord sees and will bless us, even if the world doesn’t. Let’s be generous today in sharing what we have with others, knowing if we take care of others Our Lord will take care of us abundantly.
Readings: 1 Kings 17:10–16; Psalm 146:7–10; Hebrews 9:24–28; Mark 12:38–44. See also 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.