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JUNE 5. Ord Time B. Wk 9. Sat. Mk 12. 38-44

Updated: Sep 10

In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’


He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’


This gospel is more about one’s desires and values than the amount of money being given. Jesus refers to the values the scribes held when he said "They like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seat in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets.”


And before we condemn this type of behaviour outright, we need to pause and look into our own heart. Are there no desires within it for “success” in the eyes of those around us; - or for “comfort” or “consolation” in our day-to-day life; - or to “not to be disturbed” by those around us?


These are all values and desires Christ spoke out against, and I think they linger in the hearts of most of us; - even those who profess to be followers of Christ?


And the problem for us, if such “values” do have a place in our hearts, is they disturb our inner peace when Christ presents us with suffering or the Cross in one form or another. Such values, or desires impact negatively on us in such circumstances, or when we are called on to be generous towards God or neighbour.


In contrast, Christ highlights a poor widow who held no such values or desires. She came into the temple and gave everything she had!


The lesson here is that if we do hold in our hearts desires or values that are contrary to the values lived, and taught by Christ, such desires will have a negative impact on us when we are asked to give or to embrace suffering.


The difference in attitude and values, between the poor widow and the scribes, is what Christ is highlighting in today’s Gospel, and he makes this very clear when he says:


I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.” And he said this despite, at the outset, making it clear many of the rich put in a great deal!”


The lesson here goes well beyond the amount of money. It applies equally to the multiple desires we hold in our hearts that impact negatively on the practice of the virtues, such as Humility, Charity, Self-denial, Patience, Compassion etc. The widow held no such desires!


Gospel Acclamation Mt5:3


Alleluia, alleluia!

Happy the poor in spirit:

the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia!


First reading Tobit 12:1,5-15,20

'I am one of the seven angels who stand ready to enter the presence of the Lord'


When the feasting was over, Tobit called his son Tobias and said, ‘My son, you ought to think about paying the amount due to your fellow traveller; give him more than the figure agreed on.’ So Tobias called his companion and said, ‘Take half of what you brought back, in payment for all you have done, and go in peace.’


Then Raphael took them both aside and said, ‘Bless God, utter his praise before all the living for all the favours he has given you. Bless and extol his name. Proclaim before all men the deeds of God as they deserve, and never tire of giving him thanks. It is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right to reveal and publish the works of God. Thank him worthily. Do what is good, and no evil can befall you.


‘Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct are better than riches with iniquity. Better to practise almsgiving than to hoard up gold. Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days; those who commit sin and do evil, bring harm on themselves.


‘I am going to tell you the whole truth, hiding nothing from you. I have already told you that it is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right too to reveal in worthy fashion the works of God. So you must know that when you and Sarah were at prayer, it was I who offered your supplications before the glory of the Lord and who read them; so too when you were burying the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave the table to go and bury a dead man, I was sent to test your faith, and at the same time God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.

‘Now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. I am about to return to him above who sent me.’







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