Readings today focus on widows. In the first we have the widow who succours Elijah. In the second we’ve the widow who gives all she has to the temple. Both deal with generous giving to God and others. Let’s confess ways we fail in such love and generosity..
In the early church Christians could be saved from the lions if they abandoned Christ. For this they received money. A Christian took the cash. As he watched comrades going to die a soldier said, “aren’t you lucky, you’re alive & rich while they’re dead meat?”. “No”, he said, “they’re the ones who’re alive, I’m the one who’s dead”. He’d sold his soul for useless passing riches. It’s the gospel. The so-called religious scribes pretended long prayers, but oppressed the poor for money; their faith was a soulless sham. By contrast, we’ve the widow; out of her livelihood she gave all. Christ was awestruck. She lived perfectly his command to love the lord with our whole heart. Also, she lived his new commandment in the beatitudes: “blessed are the poor in spirit”. Detached from money she didn’t hoard even the little she had. Christ asks us to have the same freedom from possessiveness. For this as the only way to solve world poverty also. To give generously from a faith-filled loving heart, to bring justice to the earth by sharing our surplus with the needy everywhere. And that’s good for us too, for we free ourselves from enslaving greed and possessiveness and build up treasure in heaven that will last forever. That lesson came home to me when I was buying a site for a house. When fencing it, I made sure I got every inch of ground. “Ah”, the fencer said, “a few feet of ground is all we have in the end”. A slap in the face for a so-called man of God.
Christ warns us in the same way today. He says the way to end injustice is not “me me” but sharing. This blessed way isn’t easy in a money-mad culture. That’s why this gospel’s so relevant, it warns that wealth can close our hearts to the poor and to God. “Oh that today you’d listen to his voice, harden not your hearts” the psalms say. In the pride of riches we may need neither God nor man. So as wealth increases the practice of the faith falls. But those in Grand houses with 4-by-4 cars abandoning the faith of our fathers are fools, when our souls are required of us riches will be no use to us, only heavenly treasures last.
Christ asks us to take that lesson to heart, to shun the damning way of the greedy world for God’s way of generous giving. For it’s a sure path to happiness here and hereafter. We should keep enough for a good standard of living. But after that give from our surplus to win friends among the poor and a high reward when we come before the lord. Of course this may mean suffering. For the more we follow Christ’s generous way, like the widow, the more the world will despise us. We’ll show up its unsatisfying, materialistic, godless ways. As one holy man said, the test of how well we’re following Christ is how much we suffer and are attacked by the world. Christ, the son of God, was born in a stable and had nowhere to lay his head to give us an example of how to identify with the poor and weak. Sure we should have plenty, but it will be of lasting value only if we share it generously with those in need and the church. Then we’ll raise up our world and make a difference by our lives. And finally we’ll share in the glory of a Lord who gave all to the last drop of his blood for God and us. For the world’s hard greedy values pass and leave us empty before eternity, but He leads generous souls to happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people called to the generous sharing with the needy around us that comes from a faith-filled heart like the widow, we profess our faith..
Prayers of the faithful
Giving thanks for any prosperity we have and praying that in this time of recession all may return to it, we ask also that we may learn the uselessness of excessive greed and worldliness and give generously to God and others from rich faith-filled hearts.
We pray that the church and its leaders may continue to remind people that man does not live on bread alone…lord hear us
For our leaders here in Ireland and in the EU that they may not neglect to serve the spiritual as well as material needs of those they govern and work for a more equal distribution of wealth.
For our youth that they may not be so caught up in the pursuit of worldly things that they have no time for God and the deeper more lasting goods that enable them to serve the needs of others and grow into everlasting life…
For ourselves that in our homes we will have generous and loving hearts towards our children and all who enter our houses..
For the sick the lonely, the aged and those in our parish who need special care that we may find the time to be there for them and so bear witness to true Christian love….
For the dead, especially those who have died recently in our parish and for all those whose anniversaries occur at this time, all those on the November list of the dead..
And we ask this through Christ our lord in whom all good, holy, and generous souls find happiness forever and ever, amen.
Recently our neighbour died in a ruin of a house with the cold wind blowing in broken windows. Yet when they consulted his affairs they found he’d hundreds of thousands in the bank. It was no good to him on earth and relatives have fought over it since. Life’s short, we’re foolish to put it all into money making. For we carry nothing into the grave but faith and good deeds. Others will spend the earthly wealth we’ve accumulated, but our wealth in God is ours forever. Let be wise and see that..Hail Mary