Father Paul Campbell, LC
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In the course of his
teaching Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to
go around in long robes and accept greetings in
the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places
of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of
widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will
receive a very severe condemnation." He sat down opposite
the treasury and observed how the crowd put money
into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two
small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples
to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to
you, this poor widow put in more than all
the other contributors to the treasury. For they have
all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her
poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I believe that
you are here with me, within me as the
life of my soul. I place all of my trust
in you, for without you I can do nothing.
I love you. Thank you for revealing your loving mercy
to me. I offer you all I do in
Petition: Lord, help me to be coherent
and sincere in my decision to follow your will
in my life.
1. Religion for Show: The Gospel passage
presents us with the stark contrast between the scribes
and a poor widow. The scribes were driven by appearances.
They were slaves to their vanity. Their interior security
lasted only as long as praise flowed from the
mouths of those around them. They were more driven by
the applause of men than the approval of God.
Since their piety was mere show, it left no
deep mark in their soul and could not free them
from their disordered passions. Externally they appeared religious, but
within they were a seething mass of vice. In
their greed, they “devoured the houses of widows.” Is my
piety for show or for God alone?
2. Generosity Means
Giving All: The poor widow went unnoticed by the crowd,
but Jesus saw her. While the rich made a
great show of their gifts, she had only two small
coins to give. She quietly slipped in among the
crowd, seeking no one’s notice; but she was noticed
by Christ. This is our choice: the applause of men
or the praise of God.
3. Drawing Comparisons: Sometimes
it is easy for us to get caught up in
what others have -- what they are doing or
saying. We fall into the trap of comparing ourselves
with others, and probably most of the time we don’t
measure up! It causes nothing but anguish. Yet, God
doesn’t compare us to others. He loves us. He
made us as we are, with our own unique combination
of talents and abilities. He measures our generosity not
by what we give, but by what we hold back
for ourselves. Remember, the happiest are not those who
have everything but those who give everything they have.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to stop comparing myself
to others. Help me to see the good you
want me to do today. Let me see the things
I’m holding on to and that which is keeping
me from you. You have given me everything. I want
to return your gifts in full with interest.
Resolution: I will trust in God’s providence and
give him something today that I’ve been holding back.