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The poor widow's contribution

November 22,  Monday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20 & Luke 21: 1 -4

A poor widow is putting in two small coins.

Souvenir programs of parish festivities and other related prints prominently display the big patrons and benefactors. The small donors are usually lumped together in a list set in small print.

Instead, in the gospel, Jesus highlights the donation of a widow that is the smallest of all. He notices her dropping her small coins and comments, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest." Why? "Those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

In other words, she has made a greater sacrifice than the others. For God, who sees the heart, values not only the amount of our contributions but our generosity of heart when we give.

The poor widow and not the rich catches Jesus' eye. He sees not just the hand but also the heart that gives. The widow was not only without a husband, the wage earner, but she was also poor. This made her offering even more valuable because it involved self-deprivation and sacrifice. When we give to God, we must be reckless in our generosity. A good criterion when giving would be not: how much I have given but how much I have left.

We often say, "give till it hurts." St. Mother Teresa said: "give till it no longer hurts."


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