Revelations 14:1-3, 4b-5
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." Luke 21
At the heart of Christianity is the idea of giving. Saint Paul whose memory we hold dear this year rarely quoted Jesus. But once he chose to quote Jesus: "remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
The poor widow gave all on which she had to live. This impressed Jesus. The natureof the Father is to give Himself totally to the Son and the Son to the Holy Spirit. When God loves us He gives to us. "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son." (John 3:16)
We will not experience the "unspeakable gift" (2Cor 9:15) of Jesus if we do not love others by giving. Meditating on the poor widow in today’s Gospel will be an enormous help in understanding the great mystery of God’s love for us.
Paul gives us some practical advice about giving in 2 Cor 9:7. He tells us to give "not with sadness, nor necessity (an-ang-kay’) for God loves a cheerful giver." (hilarios dotan)
When we give it should not be forced on us by the government or by public pressure to make us look good, but with a joyful heart. We are happy to give as it makes us like Jesus "who loved us and gave himself up for us." Besides, by being generous to others, we will be richly rewarded. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Mt 6:38)
Indeed, "God loves a cheerful giver." True joy only comes through a life of giving. Joy is the sign of the presence of God. Godlike cheerfulness comes to us when the needs of another become as important to me as my own.
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.