People in need themselves are more generous than the rich.

Sunday, 11/11/12

Today’s Gospel story could not be more straight-forward. We get the point.That poor widow, in proportion to what she possessed, gave more than the rich people. Still, we might glean more from the story if we let our imaginations bring it to life.

Two temple officials stand at the center of the entranceway to the temple. A line of worshipers with contributions winds its way up to where one official drops the money into the treasury, while the other official records it.

We see Jesus standing to the left, while his disciples, squatting on a low wall, savor the sight. They were fishermen who lived from one night’s catch to the next, so for them the great sums the official was dropping into the treasury were the things dreams were made of. “Boy, what I couldn’t do with even half of that wad!”

They turn in shame from the poor widow as the official looks down at the two copper coins in his hand. (In saying they were copper, Mark was identifying them as the bits of pressed copper the government had discontinued forty years earlier.)

Jesus came tom life, urging his disciples,  “Look, look, at what she is doing!”

He left the disciples to exchange murmurs. “He has missed the whole show, now he wants us to look at the old gal. “Nuts!” “Did you see it? Those coppers were so light that when the official let go of them they  fluttered down into the treasury.”

Jesus hushed them, saying, “Don’t you see, the rich will never miss what they gave,  but this lady gave the Father all she had to live on. She is wonderful!”

In the large parishes where I have worked, we always had money counters; but a few times a year when I sat in with them I was amazed at the quiet people who every week give God a sizable share of what they have to live on.

In the movie “Cabaret” Joel Grey sings the comic lyrics, “Money, money, money. Money makes the vorld go around, the vorld go around.” It is true, money makes the world go around, but it isn’t the money we spend on ourselves, it’s the money we spend on others. U. S. yearly figures show that households making more than $50,000 give four percent of that to charity, while households making less than $50,000 give seven percent to the needy. They are the ones Jesus calls wonderful!  

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