Sunday, November 08, 2015

Contributing All

By Beth DeCristofaro

She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. 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." … the LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" (1 Kings 17:12, 14)

Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood." (Mark 12:42-44)

God, you blessed the widow with deep faith in you, and she offered you all she had.  We pray:  Let us know the joy of giving, O God.  (From “Give Us This Day,” November 2015, p. 86.)

“The Widow’s Might”, JESUS MAFA, Cameroon, Africa
These readings can prompt us to look at our own paucity in order recognize how we might best give our whole livelihood by loving from our places of deepest distraction or resistance to love.  My junior year of college was spent in France.  Among many positive lessons I learned about was that of not having enough.  Yes, I was in France, studying in Universite

Remarkable! But beyond rent and tuition, I had very little to live on.  I lived in anxiety that I would not have enough to eat every day.  Today, I still feel myself holding back when asked to donate because of the implanted desire to hold onto a few coins even though my financial status is far from those days.  I no longer want.  There is, however, a small, remaining sense of what the widows in today’s readings might have felt as they dropped coins into the basket or rolled out the last ounce of flour for flatbread.  What comes next if now I have nothing? 

What I am still learning is that God is always next and now and forever.

With Jesus, we can give all.  We can offer over the anxiety of hunger to feed someone hungrier than ourselves.  We can be impelled by fear that our civil rights are threated to volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in order to reduce violence.  We can trust God instead of our need to control by giving more space and time to others allowing them to blossom.  We can give over our worry about fundamentalism or divisions within religions by taking part in ecumenical dialog thus strengthening both civic and sacred communities.  We can see our deepest vulnerabilities as the place where God is protectively present and do what God would do.  Love with our All.

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