Monday, November 26, 2012

Put In More

Put In More

November 26, 2012
Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.  The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.  They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders.  No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth.  Revelation 14:2-3

[H]e noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.  He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest."  Luke 21:2-3


"What the Catholic Worker Believes," from Easy Essays by Peter Maurin
1. The Catholic Worker believes in the gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism.
2. The Catholic Worker believes in the personal obligation of looking after the needs of our brother.
3. The Catholic Worker believes in the daily practice of the Works of Mercy.
4. The Catholic Worker believes in Houses of Hospitality for the immediate relief of those who are in need.
5. The Catholic Worker believes in the establishment of Farming Communes where each one works according to his ability and gets according to his need.
6. The Catholic Worker believes in creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new.


As we wind up this liturgical year, are we up to learning a new hymn?  Or would we rather stay in our comfort zone and sing the same old hymn we have been singing?
Do we want to give only out of our surplus or out of our substance? 
The readings once again use the generosity and hospitality of a widow -- one of the poorest and least connected citizens of the day -- to try to teach a new lesson to those who will hear the sound from heaven. But the lesson is now new but very old.  As old as Luke.  As old as Elijah.  The lesson of the widow's mite is so old that it looks like "news."


Now that we are within the five weeks of Christmas -- from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day -- the news media will be flooded with stories about charity.  Just like the shopkeeper hits "black ink" with the rushing sales at the end of the year, many charities don't balance their books until the generosity of the holidays are upon us.
That is not to say that the needs are not there all year -- but the agenda setting editors and reporters don't focus their laser beams on these stories until the rest of the news cycle calms down.
We have developed many new tools in the Internet era to search for charities and to determine which charity is effective, which is efficient, which has impact.  Here are just a few:
Jesus and the poor widow do not ask us to be efficient and effective.  They only ask us to love without condition.  Please make these 40 days that end the year your personal 40 days of Charity.  Resolve to commit an act of charity (works of Mercy) every day until the calendar turns into 2013.
They say that if you do something for more than 30 days, it becomes a habit.  Wear it proudly.  And put in more than all the rest. 

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