Homily for Monday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time
In our gospel today, Jesus is challenging us to think about quality over quantity. He uses the story about the widow putting money in the treasury to prove his point.
How did Jesus know how much the widow put in the treasury? If you aren’t familiar with the setup of the Temple, the treasuries were always located in the outer courts and it was the furthest that women could go into the temple area. The treasuries that we hear about today usually had a kind of brass flute on the top of them, so whenever anyone would put money into the Treasury, people around would know how much money was going in. Everyone would hear the coins clanging against the brass. In this instance, Jesus knows that the widow only put in a small number of coins because, like everyone around, he could hear it. But there’s a reason he brings attention to it.
For some context, the passage that we hear in today’s Gospel from Luke follows Jesus’ denunciation of the Scribes and the Pharisees for enjoying places of honor. He also condemns them for taking advantage of widows all to advance themselves. So, this is somewhat of a continuation of that same thought. Jesus is juxtaposing the Scribes and the Pharisees – the wealthy and the powerful – against a female widow, one of the lowest members of society. He does so in order to show that those who will inherit the Kingdom of God aren’t always the ones that people expect. It’s not about how much you have or how much you give; instead, it’s about the quality of your giving, the quality of your discipleship, the quality of your relationship with God.
Sometimes, it is really easy for us as Christians to give grand gestures to God. We don’t have an issue giving our money to God, giving our time to God, giving our talents to God…especially when it is out of our excess. But when it comes down to the little things, do we give to God with the same zeal. Even when it is difficult to give to God, do we still offer Him our best?
The goal of Christian discipleship is to be in communion with God in everything that we do. Our responsibility is to follow the Lamb wherever He leads, to do everything with and for God. It is then that we’re like the widow who gives out of her poverty because it means we give every single little thing to God.
In our relationship with Jesus, are we just giving Him lip service or are we seriously entering into dialogue with Him, listening to His words? In our discipleship, are we doing acts of charity or service in the hopes that others will see us or are we doing those things because we know that God has asked us to do them? Are we building up the Kingdom of God or are we building up ourselves? So, the questions that we have to ask ourselves today are: What is the quality of our relationship with Jesus? What is the quality of our discipleship? Are we doing things to build up ourselves or are we doing things to build up the Kingdom of God and to make Christ’s name known in the world?