The Holy Gospel according to Luke (21:1-4)
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
Opening Prayer: Dear God, I love you because you notice little details, like a poor widow offering two small coins. I know that you see and cherish all of my good deeds too. It makes me want to love and serve you even more. Please give me the grace to do so.
Encountering Christ: There are two things that come to mind when I read this Gospel passage. First, just two Sundays ago this same story was proclaimed in the Gospel of Matthew. And I was Blessed to be able to take one item off my bucket list, which was to have a full mass next to one of the most peaceful places that I know in the Sierras. Fr. Dominic Su presided the mass and I read the Readings and the Gospel; and I preached to God and His creatures around us (see photos below).
Here is what I preached. I have had the privilege and blessing for this passage to come to life. I witnessed this passage in real time, my time, at a daily mass at the Cathedral of the Angels in Los Angeles. For offertory at daily mass the Cathedral puts out baskets before the altar and folks just walk up and place their alms in the basket. Well, this one mass we all walked up and gave our offerings, and towards the end of the line, I noticed this lady in a wheelchair asking someone to push her to the front. And that wonderful person did so. So, by the time this lady approached the baskets there wasn’t anyone else around her, so it was very silent in the Cathedral. When she reached the basket, she reached over to the basket, and I heard exactly two coins hit the bottom of the basket. This beautiful lady, who was obviously poor was willing to give money to the church even though she probably need it for something else. I remember that I cried when I saw this. God revealed himself to me through the heart of this lady. I encountered Christ!
Happiness is found in our sacrifice. Specifically, it is found in sacrificial love by which we dedicate everything we are, everything we do, and all that we have to the sole purpose of the glory of God and the furtherment of His Kingdom. Sadly, when one is rich in the things of this world, it is easy to think that offering a portion of their wealth, such as a charity, means that they can keep and use the rest any way they want. But that’s not true. Giving of ourselves completely to God and to His service does not necessarily mean that we donate all of our money to the Church. But it does mean that we offer everything to God. For many, when this complete offering is done every day, God will lead them to use their material resources for the raising of their family, to take care of their basic needs, and, at times, to even enjoy various comforts in life. But the real question is whether or not you truly live as though all you have and all you are is God’s and is to be used for His glory and the furtherment of His will.
Closing Prayer: Jesus Christ, you loved me so much that you gave me all you had by dying on the cross. From the poverty of your humanity, you offered your whole self to your Heavenly Father. You learned obedience through what you suffered and so became the fount of salvation for all who believe in you. Teach me to understand this logic of love so dear to your heart.
Action of the Day: Thanksgiving is this week, what is it that you are Thankful for and how are you going to repay it forward?