Last week we heard Jesus repeat the commandment of God that we should love the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. This week we see two poor widows live out this commandment. The widow in our Gospel reading earns Jesus’ praise for contributing her whole worth to the treasury of the temple; she gives back all she has to the God who gave her life. The widow of Zarephath, in our first reading, trusts Elijah with what would seem to be the last of her food, even though she is bitterly angry with God for her poverty.
Both of these women serve as examples for us. They give freely before serving themselves. One gives without being asked; the other responds to the need of the Prophet before her. Both place their trust in God even as their earthly support runs out. We can become fixated on what we have (or don’t have) now, not looking forward to the gifts God will bestow upon us in the future. We can fall into the trap of believing that what we have is not sufficient for ourselves and others. This is what we call the “illusion of scarcity.”
Our daily experience ought to dispel this myth. I am frequently surprised by the generosity of strangers who rise to meet the needs of others. I am grateful to you, our parishioners, who routinely rise to meet the needs of the poor and unfortunate in our community and beyond. Each time we hold a special collection or fundraising event for disaster relief you respond without hesitation. I know how many of you struggle to make ends meet in your own family budgets, yet you still find a way to shock me with your generosity. You may never meet those who benefit from your gifts, yet you give freely to them in Christian charity. Thank you for inspiring me with your generosity.
Thank you, too, to those who have responded to our recent Stewardship Commitment drive. Your consistent generosity allows us to be generous as a parish family. I think we may all be pleasantly surprised what Christ can accomplish with our gifts in the future. May the God who has so richly blessed us in the past continue to provide us with receptive hearts and charitable hands.