Saturday, November 07, 2015

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year - B - 2015

This week's readings tell the stories of two women.

Both of them are widows. Both of them are very poor and very powerless.

You see in both in the Old and New Testament women had no legal rights.
They could not own property.
They could not work outside of the home.
They could not even speak for themselves in court.

They were completely dependent on men and when no man was willing to represent their interests or provide for them and their children they were in dire straits indeed.

Only when we understand this context can we understand the significance of their actions.
The woman in the first reading was indeed in dire straits.

A famine was sweeping the land.

People were less inclined to be generous with their food and more inclined to look out for themselves and their own.

The widow understood that her means were nearly exhausted. She knew that when her oil was gone and her flour exhausted there was a good chance that both she and her son would simply die of hunger.

When Elijah the prophet asked her for a little bread he was in a sense asking her to make the ultimate sacrifice for a complete stranger.

Her generous nature and trust in God enabled her to say yes and because of her generosity “the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry” and she and her son survived

In the Gospel we have a similar story as the pilgrims entered the temple the were required to make an offering.

Many of the rich would make a big show of what they were giving and some of them did indeed gave huge amounts.

However more than not their gift was from their excess, or what they really didn’t need.

The little widow had no means and was not able to large donation.

But Jesus points out that her very small gift was the most generous of all because she gave all that she had.

What did these two women have in common?

When the moment of truth came or the moment of decision came what enabled them to make the right choice?

First of all they were able to be detached from lure of worldly possessions.

Maybe it was because they were poor and never had much to begin with.

Maybe their life of poverty enabled them to share the little that they had, whatever the case.

Their ability to open their hands and let go of what they possessed enabled them to be generous.

The second thing they shared was an absolute trust in God’s providence.

Even though they didn’t have much in the world they knew that God loved them.

Neither of them said why me.
Neither of them expressed any resentment to God about their circumstancese.

Both of them just trusted.

You know many of us have been coming to church for years, we never or rarely miss.

Yet, we sense in our hearts that we are not making the progress in our relationship with with God that we should.

Many feel and I have always felt somehow my life, or my discipleship could be sould be more fruitful should be more generous.

Sometimes we might think to ourselves after all this effort shouldn’t I be in a better place shouldn’t I be a better person.

I would propose to myself and to you to our parish as a whole and our country as a whole that if we want to be more faithful servants we should ponder and imitate the example of these two women.

We should ask ourselves do we see the goods of the world for what they are a means to an end,or do we view them as an end in themselves to be coveted and acquired at any cost.

How much of our lives our energy have we spend acquiring things and holding on to them for dear life?

This is really an important question

How can we expect to grow in holiness if we place our trust in things rather than God and God’s loving providence.

Don’t get me wrong material things are not bad in and of themselves.

Having material things is not bad in and of itself.

Rather that manner we hold on to them,

the way we covet them, desire them, some would say even lust for material possessions. is where the problem lies.

When it comes to our possessions is our hand closed or is it open and generous.

This is especially cause for concern when we have a super abundance and there are those who go without even the minimal.

When John D. Rockefeller and incredibly wealthy man was asked “how much would be enough?” he answered “just a little bit more.” When he said this he was at the height of his financial success personally accounted for almost 2% of total US GDP!

The readings today challenge us to look at ourselves as individuals as a church and as a country and ask ourselves when is enough enough.

The example of these to women challenge us to ask ourselves where do we place our hope.

In a society where the gulf between those who have and those who do not grows wider and wider these reading should cause us pause.

This week let’s meditate on the example of these two holy women and ask ourselves openly what would we have done or what will we do when a complete stranger comes to us in need ?
Would our hand be open or closed ?

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