Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
June 10, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we come to nearly the last chapter in the Book of Tobit. We hear a passage from Tobit only once again in the entire liturgical year. So if you want to know the whole story, you’ll have to pick up your Bible and do some reading!
Archangel Raphael Leaves Tobias’s Family – Rembrandt
In today’s passage, Raphael reveals himself as God’s elite angel sent in answer to Tobit’s and Anna’s prayers. Before leaving to return to heaven, Rafael gives the family a bundle of advice about righteousness and sanctity. In reality, it is the author of Tobit giving his audience this advice as they cope with the anxieties of the diaspora.
In our Gospel, Jesus finishes up a chapter too. The scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees have been wrangling with Jesus throughout the week’s readings. Today, rather than enter into debate with them, Jesus uses a visual example to make his point.
Where Jesus sits debating with these elitist religionists, there is a “poor box” to make offerings. The rich and privileged pass by, maybe tossing in a few left over coins from their marketing. But a poor widow approaches the box with a nearly invisible yet momumental gift. Jesus seizes the moment to make a consummate point with an economy of words:
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
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.”
The Widow’s Mite – James Tissot
Humble Tobit and the Generous Widow teach us volumes about how to love and serve God. They teach us about righteousness and spiritual wealth, about justice and freedom, about fidelity and hope.
As we close this week of wonderful readings, let’s sit with these teachers, and with Jesus, to discern the most important lessons for us.
Poetry: The Widow’s Mites – Richard Crashaw
Two mites, two drops, yet all her house and land,
Fall from a steady heart, though trembling hand :
The other's wanton wealth foams high, and brave ;
The other cast away, she only gave.
Music: Give It All You’ve Got – 3rd Force