The Poor Widow’s Contribution
Somebody said that if you are in need of help seek it not from the rich but from the poor. Many of us have experiences in fund raising. We found out that most of the times poor people, in general, are far more generous than rich people. Well anyway, there is always an exception to the rule and exception always remains an exception. But like for example, the U.S. News and World Report, (December, 1991) said that personal income Americans gave to charity last 1990: poorest households was at 5.5% and wealthiest households was at 2.9%. And also the age group that gives the highest percent of income to charity was ages 65 to 74 at 4.4% and the lowest was ages 18 to 24 at 1.2%. I do not know if this data is true but it is a fact. Logically those who have more shall be giving more than those who have less. And yet what is happening is the opposite.
Today’s gospel presents to us a poor widow but with exceeding generosity because she gave all what she had, her whole livelihood for the temple treasury. And her poverty did not stop her from giving her share. Although her contribution was a tiny sum of money as compared to the contribution of the others but theirs were coming from their surplus wealth.
Why the widow is so poor? Luke 20:46-47, the gospel passage before today’s gospel, gives us the reason why the widow is so poor. It is because the Pharisees and the scribes ‘devour the houses of the widows!’ In other words, social oppression and injustice caused for the misery of the poor. No wonder that God is not pleased with the gifts of those who offer ‘from their surplus wealth’ which they took from the poor instead of sharing what they have with them.
Let us listen to two holy persons of all times, St. Augustine and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta that said something about wealth and giving or generosity: “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness,” (St. Augustine) and “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving,” (Blessed Mother Teresa).
God is not interested in how much we give, but in why we give. God does not look at the amount of the gift but at the spirit of the giver.
At the end let us reflect this story from an Unknown author. He said that a man had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. He could receive little company and was not to be excited. While in the hospital a rich uncle died and left him a million dollars. His family wondered how to break the news to him with the least amount of excitement. It was decided to ask the preacher if he would go and break the news quietly to the man. The preacher went and gradually led up to the question. The preacher asked the patient what he would do if he inherited a million dollars. The patient said, “I think I would give half of it to the church.” The preacher dropped dead.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,