Sunday, November 11, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we learn lessons from widows – those whose place in biblical times was uncertain and frightening. Without a husband, a woman experienced diminished standing in the legal, financial and political life of the community.
She was often dependent on charity, and was deemed fortunate to capture a bit of good will from those in better circumstances.
There are several examples of widows being blessed by miracles, because they were among those most in need of them.
In today’s first reading and in the Gospel, we meet two widows displaying amazing charity and character strength. The widow of Zarephath steadfastly prepares for death because she has nothing left to live on. When Elijah asks to share in her last few cornmeal cakes, she does not hesitate to feed him.
In our Gospel, it is significant that, just across the road from the well-stocked treasury, a nearly penniless widow gives her last coins to the poor.
In Elijah’s account, we learn the outcome of the widow’s generosity. She reaps an abundant reward in perpetual flour and oil to sustain her.
We never learn what happens to Jesus’s widow. We are left to imagine that, in some way, her selflessness is rewarded.
It is so hard to give it all to God, especially if we feel we have little left for ourselves. It is hard to give our love when we feel empty-hearted. It is hard to give care when we feel unappreciated. It is hard to assist others when we ourselves are exhausted. It is hard to do good if no one, not even God, seems to notice.
But God does notice. Like Jesus on that long-ago afternoon, God is watching as we empty our coffers in service and care for the poor, sick, troubled and lost.
What we have to give may be small — a single corn cake or two little coins. It is the act of giving it that is large — and will make our hearts large by the choice.
One this date in 1841, Catherine McAuley, the first Sister of Mercy, died. She had given everything she had — a fortune actually.. and a life — for God’s poor and needy. Let’s call on her to inspire us to greater charity and mercy. God knows we need to do something for this aching world!
Music:: Matthew West – Do Something