Two Small Coins
My brothers and sisters, even God, who created the entire universe and each person, has the ability to be shocked by us. While Jesus sat near the treasury and watched as people put money in the box, He was shocked when the widow offered everything that she had to God.
Sometimes as a priest I meet individuals who interpret this gesture differently. Some people give money to the poor in order to feel better about themselves, thinking that they have done something good, and they give themselves a nice pat on the back. Other people give money to the poor or feed the homeless and post a selfie of it online so that others can see them performing good deeds and praise them for what they do. And still others give money to the poor because they feel obliged to do so. None of these cases, however, is an example of what it means to give a real widow’s mite.
When the widow gave her two small coins, Jesus says that she “contributed all that she had, her whole livelihood,” In other words, the widow gave not so much her money, but her very self—her heart and life to God, trusting that God would take care of the rest. Jesus is interested not so much in the money that we give Him, in what others think about us, or in our perfection. Jesus is interested in our hearts and longs for our love. As with the widow, Jesus wants to be shocked by our complete trust and love.
Just as He entrusted the widow with two small coins, which she returned to Him out of love, so too does Jesus entrust us with various gifts, including money, family members, the lives and livelihood of others, and talents. God gives us these gifts so that we may use them to serve Him and others according to His will and in accordance with our state in life. Throughout our lives Jesus also expects that we return everything to Him, including our very selves, as a complete offering of love, trusting that, just as He took care of the widow and rewarded her greatly, so to will He take care and reward us.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lectionary 155
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