Saturday, November 11, 2006
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 12, 2006
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - B
1 KINGS 17:10-16
He left and went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the
city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
"Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink." She left to get
it, and he called out after her, "Please bring along a bit of
bread." "As the Lord, your God, lives," she answered, "I have
nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little
oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in
and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we
shall die." "Do not be afraid," Elijah said to her. "Go and do
as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD,
the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor
the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the
earth.'" She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat
for a year, and he and her son as well; The jar of flour did not go
empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through
For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the
true one, but heaven itself that he might now appear before God on our
behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest
enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if
that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the
foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the
end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is
appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so
also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a
second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who
eagerly await him.
In the course of his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who
like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the
marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at
banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite
lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation." He
sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money
into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow
also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his
disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor
widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For
they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her
poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
In today's readings we are confronted with two pious Jewish widows.
Both terribly poor, yet each gives all she has to godly cause. One
gives from her last handful of meal and her last drops of oil to a
prophet; the other puts her precious two copper coins in the temple
collection box. One profits from a miracle; the other is praised by the
"Many rich people put in large sums." The "poor widow ... put in
two copper coins." She put in the smallest Greek coins in
circulation. You need 128 such coins to make up the daily wage of a
laborer. Still Jesus can tell his disciples: "Truly, I say to you,
this poor widow has put in more than all" the rest. Why? Because they
were tossing into the treasury "out of their abundance, but she out
of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."
Remember, Jesus is not castigating the wealthy parishioners; he is not
even accusing them of outward show. He is praising the widow. And his
praise tells us something rich about human living, about the risk in
giving. The widow's gift was greater than all because in giving the
coins she gave up her security; she "put in her whole living." The
others gave, and it was good; but they leave the temple without
anxiety, without worry. They had given a good deal, but there was more
where that came from. For the widow, nothing left but to cast all her
cares to the Lord.
Likewise, for the widow in 1 Kings. A handful of flour and a spot of
oil - enough to bake a cake for herself and her son before they lie
down to die. And a stranger says: "First make me a little cake
...!" Not that she was giving up her security; she had none, even if
Elijah had not dropped in on her. But to give the last cake of your
life to a stranger because he says, "Don't be afraid"? What would
you have answered? Jesus enters into Mark's story of the widow not as
a commentator or judge. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to meet his
passion and death. The letter to the Hebrews tells us: "Christ came
once for all ... to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." What
made the widow's gift supremely human was that she gave everything
she had: her last two coins. What made it splendidly religious was that
it resembled what Jesus himself would offer on the cross: himself.
Like the widow, Jesus gave all he had. With nothing left to give, he
gave himself: "This is my body, which is given for you." Out of
this poverty, he put in the treasury of the Father everything he had,
his whole living, his whole dying. No security... total risk...trust in
God alone. The result? Redemption. You and I, the whole of humanity,
have our sins taken away.
The story of the widow, and even more, the deed of Christ, suggests
strongly that the new thing he brought into the world is summed up in
his phrase, "out of her poverty." This means we are most Christian,
most Christlike, when our giving affects our existence, when it
threatens our security, when it is ultimately ourselves we are giving
away. How could it be ourselves? Like it or not, it is the crucified
Christ, who is the supreme pattern, the model for Christian living, for
Christian giving. And the crucified Christ gives himself.
Christ speaks to you not in an impersonal form letter addressed to
"All Christians everywhere." He speaks to you where you're at.
You and he know who you are, where your gifts lie, what keeps you from
risking, why you keep giving out your surplus. Christ alone can tell
you at what point, and in what way, you have to surrender what lends
you security; what keeps you from going out to your brothers and
sisters with trust only in the power of a loving God.
Has Jesus Christ really gotten hold of you? How dearly do I love him?
Isn't it surprising how little he moves most of us, how rarely he
excites us? Why doesn't Jesus turn more of us on? Perhaps he will, if
we take him more seriously.
NOVEMBER 11, 2006
MEMORIAL, ST. MARTIN OF TOURS, BISHOP
SATURDAY 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME - YEAR II
Brothers and sisters: I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last
you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned
about me but lacked an opportunity. Not that I say this because of
need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be
self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in
all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going
hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the
strength for everything through him who empowers me. Still, it was
kind of you to share in my distress. You Philippians indeed know
that at the beginning of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a
single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving,
except you alone. For even when I was at Thessalonica you sent me
something for my needs, not only once but more than once. It is not
that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that
accrues to your account. I have received full payment and I abound.
I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through
Epaphroditus, "a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing
to God. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with
his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, make friends for
yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be
welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in
very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person
who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great
ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with
what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant
can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
mammon." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and
sneered at him. And he said to them, "You justify yourselves in the
sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human
esteem is an abomination in the sight of God."
Is Jesus presenting to us an unattainable ideal? Is he urging us to
take on ourselves a life-style that in modern society it's
impossible to live out? Not at all.
Jesus is condemning here neither the possession nor the use of money
and material things. Many people insist that the saying, "Money is
the root of all evil," is found in the Bible. It's not. Paul,
however, in his letter to Timothy, the young bishop in the early
Church, does remark, "the love of money is the root of all
evil." "The love of money" and "money" do not mean the same thing.
Paul, after all, in today's first reading thanks the Philippians for
the financial support they have sent him.
It is not money that Jesus condemns, but the making of money into an
idol, a false god we worship, dedicating all our time and effort to
its pursuit, so lusting for it that its pursuit relegates to
secondary importance all else in our lives, all else - family,
friends, integrity, faith, even God himself.
As Jesus points out, God and material success cannot coexist in us
as equals. One, to the exclusion of the other, will exercise
dominion over us. It's impossible to keep the two in perfect
balance. It's true therefore that we cannot serve God and money.
But it's quite legitimate to make use of money in the service of
God, to serve God with money. The married couple has a religious
duty to use money in the support and development of their children.
In our world where materialism and consumerism are gods and
powerfully seductive idols, we constantly have to question
ourselves: do we make the acquisition of wealth a goal in itself or
a means to a higher goal?
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the personal intentions of Susan Bernal Kindle.
- for the speedy recovery of Virgilio C. Diamante.
- for the speedy recovery of Ado Paner, Rica Liquido, EJ Alviar.
- for the healing and strength of James, Maurice and Theresa
- healings for Chris, Paula, Janice, Katie, Cindy Bennie and Dustin.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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