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Our Whole Livelihood

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By Marc Massery (Nov 8, 2018)
View the readings for this Sunday.

Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 — 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 17:10-16
• Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
• Heb 9:24-28
• Mk 12:38-44

In the Gospel for this Sunday, watching as the crowd contributes to the Temple treasury, Jesus marvels not at the large sums given by the rich, but at the tiny amount given by one poor widow.

How can this be?

He said, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood" (Mk 12:43-44).

Jesus cares less about how much we have to contribute. He cares much more about whether or not we are contributing all we have. But this Gospel is not really a teaching on money. The Lord is talking about our livelihood. He's telling us that He wants more than merely a portion of our lives — He wants every moment of every day.

To put this in practical terms, if we spend hours of our spare time ministering to the poor but deliberately disobey the Church's teaching on abortion, contraception, or same-sex marriage, we are only giving God a portion of our wealth.

Or if we spend hours in prayer every day before the Eucharist, but deliberately and persistently gossip and lie, we are only giving God a portion of our wealth.

As fallen men and women, we tend to want to make ostentatious sacrifices to the Lord, but often only to satisfy our selfish pride.

But the Lord would rather us make little sacrifices done in accord with His will than big sacrifices given for selfish reasons. More than sacrifice, the Lord desires obedience to His will.

How do we know the Lord's will for us?

First, like the poor widow, we need to know our poverty and then give away all of the little we do have.

Saint Faustina knew her own poverty well. But instead of falling into despair, this led her to give the Lord her entire self — all she had. In her Diary she writes:

"I, mere nothingness, with the utmost gratitude, cast myself at Your feet like a tiny, unknown flower and, each day, the fragrance of that flower of love will ascend to Your throne" (241).

Compared to God and His majesty, we really are nothing. All we can give Him is all we have — each moment of each day, whether we're joyful or miserable, rich or poor. And through the mystery of faith, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our little offering can give glory to God's name.

View the previous Sunday Scripture Preview.

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