Last weekend we meditated on the Law of Love: love God and neighbor. There Jesus reminded the Jews “Shema” prayer, to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. This weekend we see two widows, who wholeheartedly trust God and share what they have.
The widow from the first reading, the widow of Zeraphath, was suffering from the famine. She did have a son, but he was a little child. No one cares about her, but God sent Prophet Elijah to her. In the Gospel of Luke 4:25 & 26, Jesus says, “Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.” First, she had to trust in God. She had to follow the law of hospitality, caring for the stranger and God rewarded her sacrificial generosity.
In the Gospel Jesus is sitting in the Temple with his disciples, in the area where people made donations to the Temple. Some would come with large sums of money and make sure that others would see them. The widow who came though was a poor woman. She put only a few cents into the Treasury. Perhaps she felt grateful to God that she was able to worship Him in the Temple and wanted to express her gratitude. Jesus saw it as true generosity.
We heard the second reading from the letter to Hebrews about the Eternal High Priest, Jesus. He offered himself to the Father on our behalf. The Old Testament high priests offered sacrifice again and again for their sins and sins of the people. Jesus does not offer himself again and again. At the Mass the priest enters into the eternal reality of Christ’s sacrifice on the Calvary. He offered once and gave us the Eucharist, so he can remain with us. Here we see the ultimate generosity. It changed the world. We are sent out to do the same.
Vocation Awareness Week (November 7-13): We all are called to live in a specific state of life. In a special way we pray for the Vocation to Priesthood, Religious Life, and Diaconate. It is an opportunity to pray and learn about these vocations, and talk to children about different vocations. There is a beautiful video on the USCCB website. Or you can google videos about priesthood or religious life or diaconate. https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week
National Vocation Awareness Week | USCCBNational Vocation Awareness Week, celebrated November 7-13, 2021, is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.www.usccb.org
The widow of Zarephath, she had faith, but she needed an affirmation. Elijah told her “Do not be afraid.” We need to talk to our children about different vocations, because they won’t hear much about it in their circle or social media. If they are interested in the priesthood or religious life, they need support and affirmation to grow in their call.
Veterans Day: Let us take a moment to recognize and honor the Veterans for their sacrifices. The gift God entrusted, they used for the good of the community, nation and world. This is St Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer about heart-felt generosity. It goes like this: Dear Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil, and not to seek for rest; to labor, and not to ask for any reward except that of knowing that I am doing your holy will. Amen.
Happy Veterans Day!