We are now into the month of November – the last month of the liturgical year. Fittingly we began November by fixing our gaze on the “multitudes dressed in white” (Rev 7, 13) with the hope and desire that we too, in the end, will be numbered among “the Elect”: not just all our favourite recognised saints (can’t wait to meet JPII!) but also “those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith” (can’t wait to embrace mum and dad again!)
And so immediately our attention moved to the Holy Souls of Purgatory as we pray Rosaries, offer Masses, visit cemeteries whilst trying to earn all the indulgences offered by the Church for this very worthy spiritual work of mercy.
Therefore, for Christians, November lends itself well to revisit some BIG questions: the meaning of life (what must I do to have Eternal life?) and death (with the backdrop of a world pandemic and climate-change). In short, explore the reasons for the hope in us (1 Pt 3, 15) to participate in the Victory over death of Christ our King! (3rd Sunday of November)
In this context I wish to consider this Sunday’s readings: both the 1st and Gospel readings present the figure of a widow who, despite the precariousness of her life, acts with trustful abandonment to Divine Providence and is rewarded by a miracle in the first case, whilst earning the praise of Jesus in the second. Both widows were prepared to do what the rich man of the Gospel (Mark 10, 17-30) couldn’t do – give everything to God! In doing so, put into practice the “greatest commandment” of last Sunday’s gospel.
We, too, like that scribe, may not be far from the kingdom of heaven but the teaching in today’s Gospel challenges us to enter in! It begs the question: do I see my practice of religion is more like that of the scribes or like that of the widow? Do I give to God and neighbour only what is left over from the abundance I give myself? Or am I striving to enter the kingdom of God by the narrow door (“the eye of a needle”) guided by the logic of “giving all”, the very nature of love? Perhaps a little acid test may help in discerning the answer:
- Do I regularly and generously share my economic goods with the more needy?
Do I do it with joy? (2 Cor 9, 7)
- How generous am I with the time I dedicate to prayer? Does God get scraps, the “left-overs” of my time or the “first fruits”?
Who’s winning in the “Caesar-Mammon vs God” battle??
“Christ will appear a second time to reward with salvation those who are waiting for Him”!
(cf. today’s 2nd reading from Hebrews 9,28)
Blessings! Fr. James