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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Widow's Mite-6 (Financial Stewardship Part 26)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Today’s gospel: Mark 12:38-44

The story of the widow’s mite is a challenge to us with regard to financial stewardship. Everything we have belongs to the Lord. Some are entrusted with more and others with less. But the principles for financial stewardship are the same.

First, everyone can and should give. Sometimes we tend to excuse the poor from giving, because they have so little. In our mind, they are supposed to receive and not to give. But Jesus did not prevent the widow from giving all that she had, even knowing that she was giving “from her poverty” (v.44b). So we have no excuse. We cannot cite needs of the family or that our daily expense exceeds our income.

Second, the world measures the extent of our generosity in terms of absolute amounts. For Christian giving, however, the more relevant measure is the percentage of what we give in relation to what we have. In this case, the rich people “put in large sums” (v.41b) but just “contributed from their surplus wealth” (v.44a). Maybe they gave less than 1%. But the poor widow, in giving “two small coins worth a few cents” (v.42), gave “from her poverty” (v.44b). She gave 100%!

Third, the extent of our generosity relates to how it affects our own personal well-being. Since the rich gave from their surplus, they hardly felt it. Their life goes on as before. For the widow, however, she “contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” (v.44c). Perhaps she had nothing to eat that day.

Fourth, the authenticity of our generosity depends on the love and joy we have in giving. The scribes liked public recognition and honor (v.38-39). Perhaps some of them put in large sums in order to be seen and in order to impress. But the widow was a nobody in society, and even a victim as the scribes “devour the houses of widows.” (v.40a). The others did not care about her. She gave with no ulterior motive.

And Jesus extolled her for her generosity. “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.” (v.43).

When you give your financial contribution to our community and to your parish, know that Jesus is sitting down opposite the treasury (tithe table) and observing how you put money into the treasury (v.41a). Do think about what Jesus will have to say about your generosity.

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