Sunday’s Reflection: Our Gospel lesson consists of two complementary stories tied together by the mention of widows. The stories contrast the pride and greed of the scribes with the humility and generosity of a widow.
Widows are especially vulnerable in a patriarchal society. Scribes act both as lawyers and theologians, assisting people with financial as well as spiritual affairs.
Jesus does not condemn the large gifts of wealthy people but says that this woman’s offering is even larger. He bases his calculation, not on what she gives, but on what she has left. He knows how tempting it would be for her to think, “This little bit won’t matter, so I will let the rich people fill the coffers.” Jesus admires her faith in God and her sacrificial gift. Jesus measures the widow’s gift, based not on the amount that she gave, but on the amount that she kept back for her own use—nothing. Jesus shows them the meaning of true greatness. This widow is the great one in their midst.
This is not an example story in the sense that Jesus tells us to go and do likewise. He does not demand that we drop every penny in the offering tray. However, we should listen carefully to ascertain Christ’s specific call to us about stewardship. It is clearly not satisfactory to give God a bit of what is left over after we have paid the bills. Christ expects us to put God first, not last. A tithe is the clearest Biblical standard for stewardship — and God calls particular people to give much more. But, most importantly, we are to do our giving quietly, without fanfare.
Prayer: Gracious and generous God, Creator and Giver of all that is good, we thank you for our many blessings. We acknowledge that all that we have is from you. We offer you thanks and praise for the beauty of the earth, our work, our family, our loved ones, and all the gifts we have been given. Blessed by your grace, may we show gratitude by sharing what we have been given. We seek to be your faithful stewards. Amen