The widow's Mite
This is one of the great stories in the life of Jesus, which has great lessons for our spiritual journey. Often, preachers draw attention to the material generosity of the widow, who gives all she has rather than the wealthy people who give more but only a small percentage of what they have. This Gospel does challenge us to be more generous in our charitable giving but is only a small part of the lesson Jesus has for us. The widow is attractive to Jesus because she has learnt to trust God's provision for her life. she is able to give all she has because she trusts God will look after and provide for her needs. As a widow, she has lost everything in her life, as a widow she has no rights to inherit any of the husband's wealth. She is left alone with no status and sense of identity. For many a widow suffering grief life is too much for them and in those days their life expectancy following bereavement was very low. Yet Jesus sees in this widow something special in that she has turned to God in her grief. Her giving of the mite is a sign that her healing process is working. Her initial pain of grief that produced anger, guilt,iself-pity, depression and lack of self confidence is being transformed through her temple offering. Through seeking God in her grief she has been comforted, experiencing the words in last week's beatitudes "Blessed are those that mourn, they shall be comforted". This woman has received God's comfort in the healing of her broken heart and the receiving of God's provision in her life. On many occasions prior to her temple offering our widow has experienced God's generosity towards her. She knows that to give the mite, all she has, will allow God to show his care for her. This is the power of this Gospel for us. Once we have experienced the provision of God in our life we will be able to offer God more than our left-overs. We will expect God to show his generosity on a much greater scale than our generosity. Her generosity comes from the inner healing of her grief, her anger departs, her depression is lifted, and her self confidence is restored. She can face the world with nothing because she knows her dignity in God's eyes and that she is held in God's hands.
On this Remembrance Sunday, we especially remember the many like the widow who are grieving the loss of loved ones through the tragic events of war, past and present. For many their grief can be very destructive causing them to hate with bitterness. For some their grief can be most destructive and leave them without peace. But today we ask for their healing and the widow's generosity. We pray for God's healing in their lives the strength to hand their loss into God's hands and to experience the provision of God for their lives. This can come in many ways, through grateful thanksgiving for the heroic deeds of their loved one, through the love and support of family and friends, through the process of forgiveness and reconciliation with those who have done them harm. The signs of healing in grief can be seen in the giving to others of their mite, not hanging on to their past but seeking to make a contribution to the peace of our world. It may also be seen in their grateful appreciation for all our prayers for their deceased to rest in the Peace of God's loving hands. At the same time all of us are challenged to give generously in acts of peacemaking, to remember the words of St Francis, "change yourself and you will change society" and the words of his great prayer, "make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love".
In a time of reflection, you might like to ask these questions:
1. When have you received God's provision in your life?
2. How have you coped with the loss of a loved one?