Jesus’ words are baffling if not downright absurd when taken outside the context of faith.  Yet if we look at these words closely, we see the challenge to live at the edge and not to withhold anything for the Lord. This is the message of today’s Gospel reading.  The people don’t sit in the temple treasury for nothing.  They do so for a very impolite reason:  to see who would give what and how much would so and so give.  It is all a show and the rich Jews often have a blowing shofar to announce their donations—much akin to our charity balls and auctions and fund raising stuff.  The one who could put out more is the popular guy.  We live in a world where bigger is better and the more, the merrier.  We live in a grasping society, in a transactional society where giving has its own rewards literally, like your name plaque screwed on a pew or a photo of you in the waiting she.  Jesus points another way of giving.  It is giving out of poverty.  It is giving out of lack—where it hurts more and where it has concrete repercussions.  I don’t imagine the widow just nonchalantly putting everything she had in the temple treasury in the way that the others often do.  She must have thought a lot.  She must have counted the costs:  where would we buy flour and oil? Giving this up means not being able to buy that dress that I so need etc.  She gave consciously and out of this giving, she’s also giving a part of her.  Note, I don’t think that she gives because she wanted to hurt her self nor was she a victim of a negative spirituality that urges others to scourge themselves to death or starve themselves because God needs to be appeased.  No, she gave because she knows that God could be trusted to provide for her needs.  She knows the promise that God’s heart is for the fatherless and the widow and I guess she is giving out of the experience of this providence, of this promise.  She gave because she had a relationship with God and she is making a statement:  God is big enough to supply my needs and he desires to supply them.  We are challenged to give out of our poverty, our inadequacy—then it wouldn’t be about our own strength or our own wealth.  It would be about our relationship with God and how he sustains us.  When we give out of our weakness and poverty, we prove to others that is God’s strength and richness at work.  Br. Noel

Teach me to give out of my lack, Father.  Let me know you are faithful and provident and so much more, you are powerful to provide for me.  I trust you.  Amen.

Which area of your life do you feel inadequate to serve/give?  Trust God and take the plunge.