Monday, November 24, 2014

Put in More

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he 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 21:1-3

Lord, help us to take down the walls that keep us apart, especially the walls of disrespect and inequality.  You made all people in Your likeness, giving them the gifts of compassion, creativity, and the desire to love and serve You.  Give each of us the wisdom to see beyond our flaws and differences, to all the good that unites us.  Help us know in our hearts that we really are brothers and sisters to one another.  Let us work together as the people of God, to do your will.  Let us show respect in all our thoughts and actions, so that we can be “instruments of Your peace.”  Amen. (from

Jesus and John relate stories that show how attuned they are to what is happening around them in the present moment.  Probably no one would notice the poor widow as she approaches the temple.  She has no power.  She has no wealth. She has no influence over the events of the day.  There is no PRO QUO to be gained by any QUID.  So…why bother with her?  Let her live in the proverbial shadows.  Jesus brings her into the light.  

Think back to the Sunday reading from Matthew 25.  There is more to be gained by serving “the least” than by serving the most powerful, most wealthy, or most influential.  Jesus knows this and he flags her small act of great generosity for all to notice – in the present moment in the many years or present moments to come.  

As the notes in the New American Bible explain, “The widow is another example of the poor ones in this gospel whose detachment from material possessions and dependence on God leads to their blessedness.  Her simple offering provides a striking contrast to the pride and pretentiousness of the scribes denounced in the preceding section [of Luke’s Gospel].”

As we enter the high season for consumption, reflecting on the “least” this week before we are confronted and possibly consumed by the double-headed hydra of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a proper pause to make.

We have all heard the comparisons about billions of people in the world who live on less than $2 per day.  When compared to these “least,” we all seem incredibly wealthy.  In a week, we spend more on cups of coffee, filling our gas tanks with fuel, or picking up our dry cleaning than what might be almost a month or a year’s wages in certain parts of the world.  And that is BEFORE Black Friday.  

There are entire websites and journalists who are employed to help us find the best “deals.”  There are people camping out in front of Best Buy and Walmart stores just to save a few bucks.  These are items that they could get today for less than the cost of the tent, sleeping bag and supplies (not to mention how envious the homeless person might be of that tent).

What would Jesus say if he were to watch the commercials broadcast during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade later this week?  Or review the flyers that are stuffed inside the Sunday newspaper this week and next?

How much would you be giving to charity if you were giving the same percentage of your wealth as the poor widow? 

No comments: