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A LESSON FOR US HOW TO GIVE ...

Father Francis's picture
Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Tim. 4:1-8 & Mk. 12:38-44

Preach the word of God with urgency and steadfastness, Saint Paul reminds Timothy in today's first reading. Not only was he to be a teacher but also a guardian to those people in his charge – an important, and at times unpleasant, task. To be a pastor means leading a 'flock' when sometimes you have to face accusations, false teachings and deviations from Jesus' true message. In those times, as today, many were preoccupied with myths and speculations, interpreting the Gospel to suit their whims.

As always many people seek to justify sin. Our modern society still has great disregard for the lives of the unborn and the aged, and encourages the chasing of false gods such as material wealth and worldly status. So many supposed philosophies directly contradict the Gospel message - ideas that lead God's children away from truth. Like Timothy, God calls us to remain steadfast in our faith. We may find ourselves drifting into the confusion of popular concepts and values, but only Jesus can save, comfort and lead us into the truth.

Paul’s message ends with a declaration that his end is near. He has given his all for Christ and now he looks for the reward that God has laid up for him - and all who likewise have worked in the Lord’s vineyard.

We live in a society where values that are contrary to the Gospel message are canonized. The cornerstone is not Christ but economics. A person's value is measured by his or her financial status. The poor are shunted aside as worthless and the wealthy are given every consideration. Money really does talk!

Today's Gospel reading emphasizes the fact that God has a different set of values from those on which our society is based. When Jesus saw the wealthy, putting sizeable amounts of money into the collection box of the temple, He was not impressed. He was looking for something more that He saw in the poor widow who donated only two small coins. "This poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.”

It was the generosity of the widow that mattered, not the amount of money she gave. Doubtless this generosity was characteristic of her entire life, the kind of person who also made time to help others in need. Actually that widow is a symbol of Jesus Himself: out of love for us He gave everything He had, His very life - our model is not an anonymous widow, but Jesus Himself.

Lord Jesus, we are called to be a generous and unselfish people, in all we do. Help us to realise that You do not value us for our money but for our generosity.

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