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Homily – Sunday November 11, 2012

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
1 Kings 17:10-16
Hebrews 9:24-26
Mark 12:38-44
November 11, 2012

Today we hear stories involving two different women who lived a few hundred years apart but have a common story. They are both widows.
As widows they would have no status or property. They would have little and had to rely on the generosity of others.

As the story goes, they have something else in common, their great faith.

In the story from Kings, there is a drought upon the land and Elijah is sent to Zarephath to find refuge where God says a widow will provide food.
Elijah probably would have been a surprise that God would provide for him through a widow because of their lack of status or property. How could a widow help? But Elijah trusts God and follows his instruction.

When Elijah finds the widow, he asks for water and a bit of bread.

The widow explains that she has very little to offer. Note she does not appear to be complaining. Remember the stories from Exodus of the Israelites grumbling and complaining in the desert.  She doesn’t complain.  She is simply stating the facts of the situation. Given the situation, many may have felt abandoned or forgotten by God and/or lost faith.

Even though she knows she is about to run out, she gives Elijah the bread he asks for. Then her jar never runs out because God provided.

In the gospel, Jesus is watching the people who are contributing to the temple treasury. He sees many rich people who give large sums but there is also the widow who gives little. It is her that Jesus says “put in more”.

How did the poor widow put in more? Jesus isn’t measuring their contributions by dollar value.  No, Jesus is concerned with the “attitude” of their giving.

The rich gave a lot but they gave of what they didn’t need while the widow gives of what she needs for herself.

What motivates our actions? Not just our financial giving but all our actions! Are we looking for seats and places of honor like the Pharisees? Or do we give out of generosity?

How about an “attitude of gratitude”?

Are we thankful for what God has given us?

Do we give out of “obligation” or because we want to?

Is God first for us or do we fit God in from what is left over?

Remember, I’m not talking just about money here. For instance, during the week do you make time to pray? Or do you just pray if there is time left over?

The widows trusted God. The rich gave to make themselves look good. May we always seek to do God’s Will above any self-interest.

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