Nov. 8, 2015: 32nd Sunday B
Click to hear Audio Homily
All of us are moved at times to give, whether it is giving of our time, money, or possession. The test of a gift is not the amount in itself, but what its loss means to the giver. One kind of giving is when the giver gives what he/she can live without. We will miss what we gave, but it may not hurt us. Most of our giving probably falls into this category. But there is another kind of giving, namely, when the gift is as desperately needed by the giver as by the receiver. This kind of giving hurts. A real sacrifice is involved.
Mother Teresa told a story how one day she was walking down the street when a beggar came up to her and said, 'Mother Teresa, everybody is giving to you, I also want to give to you. Today, I collected thirty cents. I want to give it all to you.' Mother Teresa hesitated: 'If I take the thirty cents he will have nothing to eat tonight, and if I don't take it I will hurt his feelings. So I put out my hands and I took the money. I have never seen such joy on anybody's face as I saw on the face of that beggar man at the thought that he too could give to Mother Teresa.'
Mother Teresa reflected on this encounter: 'It was a big sacrifice for that poor man, who had sat in the sun all day long and received only thirty cents. It was beautiful. Thirty cents is such a small amount, and I can get nothing with it, but as he gave it up and I took it, it became like thousands because it was given with so much love. And she concluded: 'God looks not at the size of the gift, but at the love with which is given.'
The widow in the gospel tossed her two coins--the her only signs of independence into the collection basket. It was all she possessed, but she maintained her complete dependence on God and neighbor. Her example of faith is grounded in the love of God: her love for God and God’s love for her. She was a steward and not an owner of her meager possessions. This poor widow teaches us that dependence, far from being oppressive and depressive, can really lead to a life lived in deep joy and profound gratitude.