A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”B”-11/8/15-SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It’s that time of year when we are reminded to be generous. We’ve had the coat drives. We’re in the middle of the food drive. We’re about to begin the Christmas gift drive. It’s the end of the year, so we’re thinking about our charitable contributions. And we’ve also got the holidays coming up, and we want everybody to have a great Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. And so giving and charity is on our minds more than other times of the year. We come to Mass today, and we hear two different stories of two widows. And these two women both radically challenge our idea of charity and generosity!
The first one, from the Old Testament, from the First Book of Kings, tells us the story of Elijah’s visit to the Widow of Zarephath. Now, all is not well in Zarephath at this time, nor anywhere else in Palestine. You see, there’s a terrible drought going on, that has led to a disastrous famine. Many people are starving to death. So the Prophet Elijah shows up one day in Zarephath, and he meets this poor widow picking up sticks for a fire. The Prophet asks this poor woman for a drink of water. And she very kindly agrees, but as she leaves to go and get the water, Elijah casually mentions that perhaps she could bring him a little bit of bread. Now, Elijah knows that this woman is poor. He knows nobody has much food. And yet, he still has the courage to ask her for something to eat. It’s only then that the real story comes out. The poor widow is picking up sticks to make a fire, to bake the very last bit of bread that she has flour and oil for. After that, she and her son are going to starve to death. Elijah asks the poor widow to trust, and to go ahead and make a little cake, for himself, and then for her and her son. Now, the widow could have told him to leave. She could have told him, this is all we have, here’s your cup of water, hit the road. But instead, this pagan woman does exactly what the Prophet Elijah tells her to do. She uses the very last of her flour and oil. And God gives her, and her son, and Elijah, enough flour and oil for an entire year! It’s a great story, right? God does something good for a generous and trusting woman!
The Gospel story is very similar. Jesus is in the vicinity of the Temple treasure, where Jewish people gave their donations for the Temple. He’s watching folks put their excess into the collection box, when out of no where comes this woman who puts into the collection, every thing that she has! And it’s not much! It’s just a few coins worth only a couple of cents! But she gives it away! She gives all that she has! She’s not holding anything back to stop at Starbuck’s on the way home. She gives it to God fully trusting that God is going to take care of her, and that she will have what she needs, when she needs it!
My brothers and sisters, these are two amazing stories of great Faith and trust! And both of these stories are about way more than just money. These stories are about our lives! God wants all of our lives. I can’t put it any more basic, and more simple than that! God wants us to completely trust in Him when it comes to everything, our time, our energy, our gifts, our talents, and yes, and maybe this is the hardest one for us, even when it comes to our money and our food! We have to know, that there is nothing that we give up in this life for God, than does not come back to us ten, twenty, thirty, even a hundred fold! Nobody is more generous than our God! It’s true. We can give Him our time, our energy, our gifts, and even our money, and God does payback even more! The trick is, that we can’t be afraid to trust Him! We can’t be afraid to let go of whatever God is asking us to let go of, even when it is our last cup of flour, or even when it is our last two cents! Our God will take care of us. We’ve got to trust that. We’ve got to rely on that!
And when we live this way, when we hold nothing back from God, isn’t that exactly when we see the greatest miracles happen? Isn’t that exactly when God does His best work? Read the Bible! It happens time and time again. Trusting in God leads to true generosity. There is very definitely a Faith component to our giving. We can do a lot more, when we’re trusting more in Him, than we are in our ourselves and our bank accounts.
+ God bless us and lead us to true Faith and generosity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!