Jesus condemns the evil and hypocrisy of the scribes and extolls a widow’s astounding generosity. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Kindness so he love those he is tempted to envy and by growing in the Virtue of Generosity so he can be abundantly generous to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
9th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mk 12:38-44
After demonstrating that the Jewish leaders had failed to properly interpret prophecy about the Messiah (Mk 12:35-37), Jesus warns the crowds of the pride and greed of some of the scribes and provides a stark contrast with the powerful example of the Widow’s Mite as a model of humility and selfless generosity.
Though Jesus recently praised a scribe (Mk 12:34), He also pointed out the scribes’ inability to fully interpret Scripture (Mk 12:35-37). Now, Jesus condemns scribes who pridefully seek honor in the marketplace, synagogues and banquets. He also condemns scribes who greedily twist prayers and use legal methods to steal homes from the vulnerable widows who were unable to repay loans when their husbands died. Scripture demanded widows receive special care (Deut 24:17); when Jesus said the Temple had become, a “den of thieves” (Mk 11:17), He was perhaps referring to these evil greedy scribes. Jesus confirms the evil scribes will receive the “greater condemnation”, a somber warning of the coming Judgment in which the evil will be condemned to Hell and perhaps a warning of differences in the severity of suffering (“greater”) in Hell.
In contrast to the greed and condemnation of the evil scribes, Jesus draws His disciples together to teach them about the need for humility and extraordinary generosity. Rather than praising the rich who gave large amounts of money in a showy way to gain attention, Jesus praised the humble widow, who though desperately poor, makes a heroic act of faith by giving extravagantly from her poverty to the Temple treasury.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be comforted and challenged at what Jesus reveals about how God views Justice: Jesus, with heroic Courage (a part of Fortitude) proclaims Truth (a part of Justice) and publicly Condemns (Vindication, a part of Justice) the powerful scribes for their pride, greed and violent thievery against the innocent and vulnerable; in praising the extravagant gift of the poor widow in the religious act of Giving Alms (a Corporal Work of Mercy) to the Temple, Jesus challenges men to heroic Generosity and acts of Religion (parts of Justice), to sacrifice one’s comfort and worldly security to give glory to God.
Be kind to those you are tempted to envy
Realize: Jesus bluntly condemns the envy, greed and thievery of the wicked scribes, reconfirming His condemnation of the deadly sin of Envy; every Catholic man should replace the sin of envy with the beautiful virtue of kindness to others, especially those whom he has been tempted to envy.
Believe: Reflect upon The 10th Commandment’s prohibition of envying another’s possessions (CCC 2534-2557).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Kindness (a part of Justice) so I am freed from the sin of envying another man’s possessions and instead offer peace and goodwill to others, especially those whom I have been tempted to envy in the past.
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.