As Jesus was teaching, He also said to them, «Beware of those teachers of the Law who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow's and the orphan's goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!».
Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins. Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, «Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living».
«A poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins»
Fr. Enric PRAT i Jordana
(Sort, Lleida, Spain)
Today, as in Jesus' times, some pious persons —and even more so, some religious “professionals”— may be tempted by a kind of spiritual hypocrisy. This is evidenced through self-conceited attitudes, which we try to justify by our feeling better than all the rest: after all, we are the believers, the ones who practice..., the pure ones! If nothing else, at times, deep inside our hearts, we may feel like that; without, however, “making a show of being praying” or, even less, trying to “devour anybody's goods”.
In sharp contrast with the masters of the law, the Gospel presents a simple and almost insignificant gesture on the part of a poor widow that provokes Jesus' admiration: «But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins» (Mk 12:42). The actual value of her donation is almost nil, but the woman's decision is admirable, heroic: she gives everything she has.
With this gesture, God and the others went ahead of her and of her own needs. She fully let herself in the hands of Providence. She had nothing else to rely upon because, quite willingly, she had given it all to the service of God and to the attention of the poor. Jesus valued her generosity and her desire to praise God and help the poor, as the most important offering of all that had been made —perhaps, most ostentatiously— in that Temple.
Salvation is to be found in the nucleus of our own conscience, when we decide to open ourselves to God and live at the disposal of mankind; and when the election value is not given by the quality or quantity of the work made, but by the purity of intention and loving generosity.