Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: Selfless Sacrifice
By: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
Homily for Sunday November 7 2021
One day, I had a funny experience at a motor park. One pretty and well-dressed lady approached me and begged me for some money to enable her travel home. I asked her what was wrong with her whether she was robbed. She went on to narrate to me how she came to the city for a crusade and in the course of the crusade, the man of God urged them to donate generously to the Church and be sure of God’s abundant blessings. So she had to give all she had as a widow’s mite. I could not understand why she had to donate her transport fare only to start begging in the park. I only helped her based on Christian charity so that she wouldn’t be stranded or embarrassed.
Her action was a literal understanding and interpretation of today’s gospel reading (Mark 12:38-44). There, Jesus only praised the poor widow not because she gave all she had to live on but because of her total trust and dependence on God.
There are four lessons we can learn from the simple action this poor widow performed.
First, though she was poor and needed help, she entrusted all she had to the treasury which was used to help the poor. She did not consider herself the poorest of the poor and so recognized that she was better than many who needed help. From her we can learn to reach out to people in worse conditions than ourselves even when we don’t find things easy. We should become selfless and sincere givers without any selfish or ulterior motive.
Secondly, though she had very little compared to others, she was not discouraged to give the little she had. She knew even though her contribution had lesser value, that it would make an impact. She did not leave the treasury for the rich to contribute alone. From her we can also learn to always make our little contributions and sacrifices no matter how small they are bearing in mind that drops of water make an ocean. So do not think you have too little to give or withhold it because it is small. It can make the whole difference.
Thirdly, by giving, she appreciated God’s graciousness in her life. She knew all she had came from God and that was why she did not hesitate to give. The goods we administer are gifts from God and we can appreciate God by letting others benefit from them. This is the basis of love for one’s neighbour, allowing others to partake in one’s blessings.
Finally, she exhibited a high level of total trust and dependence on God. She realized that it was only God who could sustain her so she did not build her trust in the money she had and was able to let go of it. Are there things you can’t let go in your life? Are there things you value more than your faith? No matter how important they may seem, since you are not certain that they will always be there for you so why not be disposed to let them go when necessary?
This was exactly what the Sidonian widow did in the first reading (1 Kings 17:10-16). She needed the meal but realizing that Elijah needed it more, she was able to let go for Elijah’s sake and for this selfless sacrifice, God did not let her go unrewarded. She never lacked food that year.
Beloved friends, the Church wants us to learn from today’s readings how to make selfless sacrifices for the good of others. Even Christ as the second reading (Hebrew 9:24-28) tells us made one single and eternal selfless sacrifice for our sake. So what can you sacrifice today for the good of the poor, the needy, abandoned children, your neighbour, etc? Your money, time, advice, words of consolation/encouragement could be your jar of meal or widow’s mite so do not hesitate to give it out. It can save a soul today.
Therefore, as we go about practicing selfless sacrifices and encouraging people to do so, do not be like the Scribes who impoverish and extort people especially the poor and vulnerable by taking advantage of their generosity. That is why most religious leaders today extort people in the name of religion by calling them to be generous. Church leaders should be faithful to the finance they administer by helping the poor instead of making them poorer. But do not forget to be wise as you give so that you do not fall a victim of your own generosity like the pretty lady in our story. God loves you.
Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe