Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: Giving with a sincere heart
By: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
Homily for Sunday November 7 2021
All we are and have are gifts from God. There is nothing we have that is truly ours. God is the giver of all. From the gift of creation, to the gift of his only son Jesus Christ whom he sent to redeem humanity disfigured by sin. God is love, and His love manifest more in his gifts to us. He also expect us to reciprocate his love by our gift to our fellow human beings, and above all, the gift of our pure hearts full of love for him. Human beings are so selfish by nature, which make it difficult for us to give to others. It takes a lot of heroism and selflessness to give. However, giving opens doors for more blessings to us.
The story of the widow of Zarephath in the first reading of today is a lesson for all of us. She gave all the food which she and her only son depend on for survival, simply because the prophet of God told her to offer that to him. She did that with faith, and God blessed her greatly. She has every reason just like we have many reasons not to help the poor and the needy in our midst, yet the widow chose to offer what she has for the sake of God. How often do we find reasons to justify our stinginess?
How often do we feel comfortable sleeping and eating when people around us are starving? God wants to use the story of the widow of Zarephath to teach us that no matter how poor we think we are, there is still someone somewhere that we are better than. Hence Pope John Paul II said, “Nobody is so poor he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich he has nothing to receive. The widow of Zarephath had only a handful of flour, while a prophet of God, Elijah is starving and had nothing to eat. What an irony, but it happens. God can use both the good things in our life and our sufferings as an opportunity to prove to us that he is still God. He blessed the widow for her courage and selflessness, to the point that she never lacked food till the end of the famine in their land during that period.
The Gospel reading also presents us with another generous poor widow. Jesus said that, “she gave out of her poverty; putting in everything she had to live on” (Mk 12, 44). Her two coins were all she had, and yet she still gave them away, with open hands and heart. Jesus appreciated her little gift, more than the gifts of the many rich people who put in large sums of money. For Jesus, the rich were living in plenty and yet offering only a little to God. Sometimes we only give to God the excess of what we have, but God is rather asking more. When our gifts do not cause us some inconveniences, then we have given less than what we should have given. We may not empty all we have at the collection box in the church, or in the hands of the poor, since we also have bills to pay. But the questions is, are we ready to offer what matters most to us in order to solve the problems of others or encourage missionary works in the Church? Are we giving with the right intention? Are we sincere with our gifts towards the poor and the needy? God gives back in abundance to those who give with a sincere heart, he gives them not only the gift they can see, but also eternal life.
We pray in this holy mass that God may give us a kind and generous heart, to be able to help those in need. We pray also that our gifts may also open for us the way to eternal life.
Fr. Justin Nzekwe