32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr.  Isaac A  Mensah

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32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr.  Isaac A  Mensah

First Reading: First Kings 17:10-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44 or 12:41-44

Theme: The Kingdom Principles of Give & Take

If there’s any Biblical quote that often is cited to solicit nay appeal for support then it is “there’s blessing in giving than receiving”( Acts 20:35). Our readings of today reiterate the principle of giving and the blessings that come with it.

Explanation of the text

Both the first reading and gospel talk about a widow. The characterization and the description of the widows in the two texts reveal their vulnerability and susceptibility. A woman whose husband had died had no inheritance rights in ancient Israel. While a levirate marriage could be arranged ( cf. Deut 25:5-10; Mk 12:18-27) and a priest’s daughter could return to her father’s household (cf. Lev 22:13), most widows had to rely on their children or on charity for survival. And so, many Old Testament texts present God as the ultimate defender of widows ( and orphans cf. Deut 14:29; Jer 49:11; Ps 68:5). Again the Old Testament’s Prophets frequently criticize the exploitation of widows ( cf Isa 1:17; Jer 7:6; Zech 7:10).

In our first reading a widow from Zarephath was faced with the decision of giving her last jug of flour and oil to the Prophet Elijah or withholding them and the gospel talks about a poor widow dropping the only two copper coins she had in a treasury. In both cases the widows showed extreme nay uncommon kind of generosity. Ordinarily one would have satisfied his/her needs first before thinking about the other person but that didn’t happen in the case of the widow from Zarephath. She placed the needs of the prophet over and above the needs of herself and that of her son. The widow in our Gospel reading ordinarily should have dropped a coin into the treasury so as to keep the other coin but instead dropped all the two coins.

What these two widows have taught us in our reflection today is that:

1. No one is too poor to give and no one is too rich to receive. In other words each one of us has something to give or share with the other person. It may not necessarily be material things. It can be our time, smiles, presence, words of encouragement etc. Indeed our prime aim in life as individuals is to help one another but if you can’t help don’t hurt the person.

2. Giving comes from the grace of God. What was it that drove poor widows who had no source of income and no security to give all that they had to God? The only possible reason would be the grace of God. These women understood how God was in charge always and that they could trust in their Provider to care for them even if they would lose all that they had.

3. Giving requires sacrifice. When you give something away, you have less than you had before you gave. If you give time to others, you will have less time for personal hobbies. If you give your abilities in service to others, you will have less energy to use these same skills for your own pleasure. This is exactly what the letter of Hebrews espouses in our second reading. Christ offered Himself to us as a sacrifice to gain for us our salvation.

Lastly no sacrifice will go unrewarded cf Hebrews 6:10. But let us remember that giving isn’t just about making donation but making a difference and we all have what it takes to make a difference in the life of another. As a matter of fact, giving isn’t based on the size of your wallet but the size of your heart.



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