In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus observes some wealthy people “putting their offerings into the treasury.” Then He notices a poor widow putting in “two small coins.” When it comes to fund-raising and development, one always wants to acknowledge any donation, but occasionally one may want to bring some special attention to the largest donors and recognize their generosity.
But Jesus draws attention to the poor widow. To me, it is about dedication to our mission as disciples. When Jesus takes note of what the widow did, He says, “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.”
Even though the widow was in need, she gave of herself. That to me, is the lesson here. St. Louise de Marillac once wrote: “To share what one has is nothing if one does not give oneself.” This goes beyond monetary offerings. We are called to give of ourselves in sharing the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We are not perfect. We may think we have nothing to offer. That is our “poverty.” But like the widow, we are called to give, from our “poverty,” to help others. And in fact, it may actually be (it usually is) our “poverty,” our woundedness, our brokenness, that enables us to help those who are poor, or wounded, or broken.
Like the widow, we are called to trust in God, let go of fear, and give of ourselves in love. It can be daunting. It can be difficult. But God’s grace is offered to us time and time again. God truly loves us! May the One who became broken to make us whole, lead us to give as He has given to us.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P., is the local superior of the Passionist Community in Birmingham, Alabama.