A small boy observed his mother putting a dollar in the offering plate at Mass. On the way home from church, she freely criticized the poor homily the priest gave. "But mother," said the boy, "what could you expect for a dollar?"
What would it cost to have Jesus say Mass for us? It cost his entire life. This weekend’s readings talks about people who give everything. Two widows are the heroes, and they were generous with what they had.
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.
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 care about her, but God sent the Prophet Elijah to her. But first, she had to trust in God. She had to follow the law of hospitality, caring for the stranger. And God rewarded her generosity.
How do we give ourselves to God? Time, talent, and treasure: these are the three main areas of stewardship. A steward is someone who is entrusted with that which belongs to someone else. We are entrusted with the Kingdom of God. We are invited to share our time, talents and gifts to our Church and community. Are we generous in sharing our gifts? It can be even a beautiful smile. The story of the poor widow tells us they didn’t have much, but they shared everything: generosity of heart. Does that mean that we have to be poor widows? It is not that wealth is bad. What is wrong and sinful is using improper means to gain wealth. It is all about consideration for others.
This weekend, we celebrate Veterans Day: They served our country. Talk about giving totally. This year something remarkable in history is remembered. The "Bells of Peace" will ring out nationwide from smartphones on the "11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" to mark the centennial of the end of World War I in November of 1918, thanks to a new app created in honor of the anniversary.
We honor them today for their sacrifices with 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! Thank you for the gift you shared!!