32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
1 Kings 17:10-16
November 8, 2015
Do we trust in God?
The fact that we are here says we want to but do we live like trust God?
Our readings today speaking about trusting God. The very first line from 1 Kings says “In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.” The simple fact that Elijah to Zarephath is evidence of Elijah’s trust in God.
Elijah had been serving as a prophet of God to the Israelites. Many of the Israelites, including King Ahab were not listening. So God proclaimed a drought to get them to listen. During the drought, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath. This could have been shocking. Zarephath was not a Jewish land but Elijah trusts in God and goes.
At the same time God told Elijah to go to Zarephath, He also told him to go to a widow there for help. This too could have been shocking. Why ask a widow for help? Widows didn’t own property, etc. and had to count on others for their needs. Furthermore, this widow is not a Jew so why would she help Elijah.
This doesn’t matter to Elijah. God says go and Elijah goes because he trusts God.
Likewise, the widow shows trust in God. It begins with Elijah asking her for a drink of water. She immediately goes to fulfill this request. Then Elijah also asks for bread. The woman responds with the simple reality that she has little to give. Elijah calls her to trust in God and she does. Amazing! Remember she is not a Jew so why should she think the God of Israel would help her? Yet, she believes and does as Elijah said. Somehow, she was open to God’s presence in what Elijah said and she responded with trust in God.
Put yourselves in the shoes of Elijah or the widow. Would you trust God and do what they did?
Elijah and the widow both trusted in God and for this God provides food and water for them during the drought.
Turning to the gospel, we see the contrast between types of people. First are the scribes who like to go around in long robes, receive special greetings, hold places of honor, and pray with many words.
What’s wrong with all of this? After all, I’m wearing a long robe and people will greet me differently than they greet other people. When I pray, I can use a lot of words. What makes what the scribes do so bad?
When I wear a long robe at Mass, it is to signify the role I fulfill as the presider at Mass. When these scribes (but not all) wore robes they were doing it for pride and to show off. When I pray, I hope it is to draw us closer to God. When these scribes prayed lengthy prayers it was to show off and draw attention and praise.
Do you see the difference in attitude?
Jesus then contrasts the rich people and the poor widow. The rich people put in large sums of money into the temple treasury while the poor widow just puts in two small coins yet she is the one praised by Jesus.
Isn’t it good that the rich people gave lots of money? Absolutely but they only gave of their surplus, of what they didn’t need. It was no big deal for them to give this much. Some of them did it just to get attention and look good.
The widow, on the other hand, had no surplus but she still gave not for attention but for love of God.
The difference between the rich and the widow should not focus on how much they gave but rather the attitude they gave with.
Now don’t take me the wrong way. Please don’t think I am saying it is not important to give. It is and people with more means should give more but not for pride but because they realize they have been blessed and thank God by sharing what they have been given.
The widow was not looking for status. All she wanted to do was to know God and trust Him.
What is the attitude behind your giving? Is it out of obligation? Is it out of trust in God? Is it out of love for God? What priority do you place on your giving? Does God just get the leftovers?
The widow gave everything but she shouldn’t have needed to. We are to each give according to our means, whether we give of our time, talent, or treasures, the order in which we give says something about our values. Where does God come for you? Do God just get the surplus (leftovers)?