When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. 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.”
I’ve listened to many homilies and sermons on this passage from Luke’s gospel! Most of them end up with the moral of the story “give till it hurts!” And yes, I agree, we need to give from the heart. We should give in a way that demonstrates true generosity, especially when we are giving to those less fortunate or for a deserving cause. Yet today I feel myself drawn to another phrase Luke includes in his story of Jesus and the “widow’s mite.”
“And he noticed.” I have to think Jesus was the exception in this story. The other people were probably preoccupied with how much they were giving and the disciples were probably wondering what Jesus might do or say next. How often do we in our world of iPhones, consumer obsessions and political mayhem notice and acknowledge a simple act of kindness, generosity or compassion?
The International Charter for Compassion calls on us to “dethrone ourselves from the center of the universe and put another there.” What a wonderful idea for us to think about as we go about in our technology fog and political arguments! Jesus noticed a simple, sincere act of generosity in a crowd of people and acknowledged it. Can we notice?
My thought for today is that Jesus “noticed.” Let us pray for the grace to live in the present moment and to acknowledge compassion when we see it. Let us wrap our arms around the next compassionate moment like it is the center of the universe. Let us be what we aspire to be, the Kingdom of God on earth!
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.