PARISH PRIEST’S REFLECTION
1 Kings 17:10-16 | Hebrews 9:24-28 | Mark 12:38-44 (or 12:41-44)
THEME: “A POOR WIDOW OUT OF HER POVERTY, HAS PUT IN EVERYTHING SHE HAD, HER WHOLE LIVING.”
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews, from which our Second Reading for today has been extracted, summarizes well the spirit of the two Widows in the First Reading and the Gospel: The Spirit of the two Widows is the sacrifice made by Christ. “Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of HIMSELF.”
“Christ, having been offered once to BEAR the SINS of MANY, will APPEAR a second time, not to deal with SIN BUT TO SAVE those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”
The two widows in our Readings today are the VISIBLE SYMBOLS of SELF-SACRIFICE for a good cause. They point to Christ who sacrificed Himself for many by accepting SHAME, PAIN AND DEATH on the cross. He emptied Himself to give life to all.
Our Responsorial Psalm portrays God’s methods: “God preserves fidelity for ever, He does Justice to those who are oppressed, He gives bread to the hungry and He sets prisoners free. He opens the eyes of the Blind and raises up those who are bowed down. He loves the just and protects the stranger. He upholds the orphan and the widow.”
That is what God did to Christ and to those who eagerly wait for Him. He surrendered Him to the humanity oppressed by sin to set man free.
The widow in the First Reading sacrifices her life and that of her son to feed Elijah the Prophet of God and as a result of her sacrifice, food is multiplied for her and her son in a mysterious manner, throughout the dry season. The widow had appealed to the Prophet Elijah saying:
“As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a pitcher, and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
This was a desperate situation for the widow, but the prophet told her not to fear: “FEAR NOT; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me and afterwards make for yourself and your son.” What a risk the widow had to take!
The widow listened to the prophet and she went and did as Elijah said; and “she and he, and her household ate for many days.” The sacrifice multiplied the little food into unbelievable quantities enough for many days afterwards. “The jar of meal was not spent neither did the pitcher of the oil fail.”
Similarly in the Gospel Jesus praises the poor widow who contributed her whole living: “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but SHE OUT OF HER POVERTY has put in everything she had, her whole living.”
That is CHRIST OFFERING HIS WHOLE SELF FOR US; He gave us His “Whole Living.”
ARE WE READY TO SACRIFICE OUR WHOLE LIVING TO OBTAIN HOLINESS AND ABANDON SIN?
Msgr. Gerard Kalumba
Christ the King Parish, Kampala