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NOVEMBER 22. Ord Time B. Wk 34. Mon. Lk 21. 1-4

As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on.’

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King; - a King who renounced everything, even his divinity, in order to become a man like us and sacrifice his life on a Cross in atonement for the sins of his people; - motivated solely by love; - Love of God and Love of sinners.

And in today’s gospel we find a humble, poor widow who had learnt from the example of her King, that in order to love we have to sacrifice our own desires and interests if we are to live as Christians; - a lesson that is difficult to firstly understand, and secondly, put into practice.

Christ was observing the people coming into the temple to make their offerings, and he saw all the rich people coming in and giving large amounts of money, but he makes the comment, “they all contributed money they had left over” while the poor widow had contributed “all she had to live on!”

If Christ taught his followers anything it was the need for sacrifice! The sacrifice of our own desires and our own comfort and interests; - in order to do the will of God; - and while it is easy to ponder and study this teaching, it is very difficult to put it into practice in daily life?

One of the reasons for this is we fail to see the link between sacrifice and love! When Christ gave his life on the Cross it was not an act done in order to experience suffering; - but rather he embraced his Cross in order to bear witness to his Love; - love of God and love of neighbour!

When we look at suffering we often fail to see this link that, by renouncing our own will and desires, we are bearing witness to our Love of the one for whom we renounce our own desires and plans. We are putting the one we love before ourselves; - and what “I want!”

This simple teaching is at the heart of Christ’s life, but sadly it is one we frequently overlook; - and the reason we do this is because of our “love” of self and our own wishes and desires which must be renounced if we are to truly love God and Neighbour!

Even when we read the Gospels it is so easy to do so without “seeing” or “understanding” this simple truth; - that everything Christ did was motivated by “DIVINE love!”

What Christ was looking for; - while observing the “giving” that was taking place in the temple; - was the “love” being shown by those who were giving money; - and where he saw love most clearly was in the actions of the poor widow.

The rich, while it may appear were “giving the most” were in fact only giving what was left over after meeting all their needs and desires; - while the “giving” of the poor widow involved giving “all she had to live on!”

This is the same lesson which Christ, our King and Teacher gave us when he sacrificed his life on the Cross – he was bearing witness to his love by giving his life; - and he was making reparation for sin at the same time; - and he has invited us to learn from him; - and do the same!

Gospel Acclamation Mt24:42,44

Alleluia, alleluia!

Be watchful and ready:

you know not when the Son of Man is coming.


First reading Daniel 1:1-6,8-20

Daniel and his companions are trained to be the king's servants in Babylon

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hands, with some of the furnishings of the Temple of God. He took them away to the land of Shinar, and stored the sacred vessels in the treasury of his own gods.

The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to select from the Israelites a certain number of boys of either royal or noble descent; they had to be without any physical defect, of good appearance, trained in every kind of wisdom, well-informed, quick at learning, suitable for service in the palace of the king. Ashpenaz himself was to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldaeans. The king assigned them a daily allowance of food and wine from his own royal table. They were to receive an education lasting for three years, after which they were expected to be fit for the king’s society. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were Judaeans. Daniel, who was most anxious not to defile himself with the food and wine from the royal table, begged the chief eunuch to spare him this defilement; and by the grace of God Daniel met goodwill and sympathy on the part of the chief eunuch. But he warned Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king: he has assigned you food and drink, and if he sees you looking thinner in the face than the other boys of your age, my head will be in danger with the king because of you.’ At this Daniel turned to the guard whom the chief eunuch had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He said, ‘Please allow your servants a ten days’ trial, during which we are given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our looks with those of the boys who eat the king’s food; go by what you see, and treat your servants accordingly.’ The man agreed to do what they asked and put them on ten days’ trial. When the ten days were over they looked and were in better health than any of the boys who had eaten their allowance from the royal table; so the guard withdrew their allowance of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. And God favoured these four boys with knowledge and intelligence in everything connected with literature, and in wisdom; while Daniel had the gift of interpreting every kind of vision and dream. When the period stipulated by the king for the boys’ training was over, the chief eunuch presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king conversed with them, and among all the boys found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. So they became members of the king’s court, and on whatever point of wisdom or information he might question them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

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