Jesus praises the astounding generosity of the poor widow. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Virtue of Humility so he can reject pride and grow in humility and by building the Virtue of Generosity so he can always be financially generous to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church. 

Liturgy

34th Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Lk 21:1-4

Commentary

In the week prior to His Passion, Jesus violently cleared the Temple, and publicly rebuked and corrected the evil among the Jewish elite who were corrupt in their behaviors and teachings, and who were in the final stage of their plot to capture and kill Him. He forcefully rebuked the evil scribes who pridefully sought honor in the marketplace, synagogues and banquets, and condemned the scribes, who, filled with greed, twisted legal methods to steal homes from vulnerable widows who were unable to repay loans when their husbands died. In direct response to the scribes’ greed and exploitation of widows, Jesus offers the enduring teaching of the importance of faith and financial generosity using the heroic action of the poor widow. 

 Since the time of Moses, Jews were compelled to present all types of offerings (grains, money, animals) at the Temple, as a sacrifice for thanksgiving and in reparation for their sins. Jews offered a perpetual holocaust blood offering to God, which were to be wholly consumed by fire, in the Temple. Through His Crucifixion, Jesus replaces and perfects these ancient Jewish sacrificial rituals by His sacrifice on the Cross, and makes His Sacrifice a permanent blessing by the Real Presence of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Jesus does not replace the need for men to sacrifice through almsgiving, and explicitly teaches the need for men to give alms to support those in need (Mt 6:1-4).

Jesus reconfirms the essential requirement of financial sacrifice for the faith, by calling attention to the poor widow’s sacrifice. The poor widow, perhaps emulating the sacrifices of the poor widow, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, gives the two smallest Jewish coins (today: two pennies) to the Temple treasury box for the benefit of the poor. Jesus lifts the poor woman’s sacrifice up as heroic: the poor widow gives “all the living she had”, a spectacular demonstration of faith and generosity.  

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be challenged by Jesus, the perfection of Justice, as He sets exceptionally high expectations for men, praising the extravagant gift of the poor widow and calls men to sacrifice comfort and worldly security to give glory to God through almsgiving for the poor (an act of both Religion and Generosity, parts of Justice).

Reject pride and grow in humility

Realize: Jesus praises the poor widow’s powerful faith in God which compels her to humbly give all of what little money she has to God.

Believe: Reflect upon the Sin of Pride (CCC 1866) and the need to approach Jesus with a Humble Poverty of Heart (CCC 2544-2547, 2559).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Humility, help me build the Virtue of Humility (a part of Temperance) so I can cast off pride, recognize my great need for salvation, and continually seek to humbly enthrone You as King in my heart, allowing You to work through me.

Be financially generous to Christ’s Church

Realize: By praising the poor widow’s selfless contribution to the Temple, Jesus confirms the need for men to turn from the Deadly Sin of Greed, and to generously support His Church; sadly, many Catholic parishes and schools struggle financially because significant numbers of Catholic men are stingy, failing to show their gratitude to Jesus Christ for His many blessings by generously supporting His Holy Catholic Church. 

Believe: Review the obligation for men to Financially Support the Church (CCC 2043, 1350-1351, 1438).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Generosity, help me build the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice) so I am moved in my heart to frequently give generously to Your Holy Catholic Church.