Daily homily for Monday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)

Daily homily for Monday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: True generosity

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Homily for Monday November 22 2021

Lk 21:1-4

When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

Today we begin the last chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke before his account of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Jesus is already in Jerusalem and spending most of His time preaching in the Temple. While standing near the Temple’s treasury, He observed people giving their offerings. The rich put in large sums. Then He saw a poor widow come in and donate two small coins worth just a penny. She could have kept one for herself. But she still gave both coins – everything she owned.

The Lord was moved by the widow’s gift. For she, “from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” The others were putting in offerings “from their surplus wealth.” But this poor widow had only the two coins for her to survive, and yet she gave them all. She can afford to give all, for she knows the price of the Kingdom.

St. Gregory the Great said, “The Kingdom of God is priceless but at the same time it costs whatever you have down to the last penny…Peter and Andrew had to abandon their boats and their nets. For the widow, it was two copper coins. For someone else it was a cup of cold water.”

Generosity is not a matter of the pocket, but of the heart. It is not the amount that counts, but the spirit of love. As the saying goes, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Generosity, properly understood and with the right motivation, is synonymous with love. Such is what God has shown us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”(Jn 3:16).

Furthermore, true generosity needs great courage. The poor widow shows her indomitable courage by giving all she had to live on. Her courage is rooted in a strong faith in God. A person whose faith is weak cannot be truly generous. The widow is able to offer everything to God because she is fully convinced that God is always with her and will not abandon her.

St. Augustine explains, “The rich gave much because they had much to give away. She gave everything that she possessed. Yet she had a great deal because she had God in her heart. To possess God in the soul is worth all of the gold in Solomon’s mines. Who has ever given more than this widow who left nothing for herself?”

We should not be afraid to be generous like this poor widow. We are challenged to offer to God everything we are and everything we have without saving anything for ourselves, trusting that the Lord is generous beyond our wildest imagination: “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive [back] an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come” (Lk 18:28-30).

The poor widow is a symbol of Jesus Himself. This story comes just before His Passion to remind us of the self-offering of Jesus on the cross. He gave everything – up to the last drop of His blood, and the last gasp of breath – to the heavenly Father, holding nothing back.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we recall (or ‘make present’) this total self-offering of Jesus to the heavenly Father. And He invites us to unite ourselves with Him in His sacrifice, to offer ourselves with Him also. Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei, wrote: “In order that the oblation by which the faithful offer the divine Victim in this Sacrifice to the Heavenly Father may have its full effect, it is necessary that the people add something else, namely, the offering of themselves as a victim…Each should consecrate himself to the furthering of the divine glory, desiring to become as like as possible to Christ in His most grievous sufferings” (nos. 98-99).

And finally, our offering will be most pleasing to God if we make them through His Mother. St. Bernard recommends: “Entrust your small gift to the care of Mary. She will ensure that your offering is favorably received by the Lord.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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