Sat, 10 November 2018
(1Kgs.17:10-16; Ps.146:1,7-10; Heb.9:24-28; Mk.12:38-44)
“She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”
Jesus sits in the temple and watches as “the crowd put[s] money into the treasury.” When He sees “a poor widow… put in two small coins worth a few cents,” He calls His disciples over, and speaks the truth to them: “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.” Whatever wealth anyone else might have stuffed into the box cannot begin to compare to her whole sacrifice – it mimics His own.
And in our first reading we find another poor widow sacrificing her livelihood to the Lord and His prophet. It is the time of a great famine upon the land (called down from heaven by Elijah himself) and the widow has nothing left to eat but “a handful of flour in [her] jar and a little oil in [her] jug.” She tells us her situation: “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.” A last supper. Straits most of us can only imagine. Yet when the prophet Elijah asks her, “First make me a little cake and bring it to me,” invoking the name of the God of Israel and promising His blessings, this woman who is not even of the house of Israel does not hesitate to give first to this stranger of the only sustenance she has for herself and her son. Another sacrifice mimicking Christ’s own.
Both widows’ sacrifices shall be blessed by the Lord; we can be assured of this. For “the widow He sustains”; it is He who “gives food to the hungry” and “protects strangers”… and any offering made in His name can only be multiplied. Indeed, Elijah proves himself not to be as the Pharisees who “devour the houses of widows,” for by his presence with his benefactor “she was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well,” the flour and the oil remaining until the rains returned. “The Lord keeps faith forever.”
Brothers and sisters, Christ “has appeared at the end of the age to take away sins by His sacrifice.” He does this “once for all,” and so does not “offer Himself repeatedly.” But we, brothers and sisters, we must join with that sacrifice – it is for us to offer ourselves as He has, as these widows have, if we are to partake of its graces. As it is manifested on our altar each day, we renew our commitment to be sharers in the blood He shed. As we drink from His cup let us remember always that it is our very lives that we are giving up. And the Lord will bless us as His own. And with these widows we shall sit at His table in heaven.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Under God" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, we must give what we have to you
or we shall have nothing.
YHWH, help us to give our whole livelihood to you, to join in the sacrifice of your Son. For you will not abandon those who hunger for your love but bless them with all they need for their journey to Heaven.
The widow you sustain, dear God; those who believe in you, you indeed bless. And we must show that we eagerly await the Second Coming of your Son by not being attached to the things of this passing earth. We must rather make known our faith in you by entrusting all into your hands. For Jesus, who has entered Heaven on our behalf, taking our sins with Him that we might be purged, will not abandon us on the last day if we offer ourselves in union with His sacrifice.
All we have let us give to you, O LORD, even our food for the day, and you shall feed us from Heaven with the Bread that sustains all poor souls unto eternity. Our jar of flour shall not go empty nor our jug of oil run dry, for in them are the Body and Blood of your only Son.