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Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion -

f we read the gospel of Mark, it is in­ter­est­ing to note that women take a huge part in the nar­ra­tive of Je­sus - women are ex­em­pli­fied as brave, gen­er­ous and joy­ful even in some en­coun­ters with Je­sus - they were the ones who chal­lenged him. They are also the women in our lives.

But of­ten th­ese women are un­named and liv­ing out­side or pe­riph­ery of so­ci­ety. In our gospel to­day Je­sus di­rected ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion to a poor widow putting in her two small coins and told his dis­ci­ples, “… 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.”

Women are vul­ner­a­ble be­cause of gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion in many so­ci­eties in­clud­ing the Philip­pines. Fur­ther in the time of Je­sus, a highly pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety a widow (woman) is made even more vul­ner­a­ble be­cause their se­cu­rity (eco­nomic and so­cial) is of­ten tied to men - from birth to their fa­thers and in mar­riage to their hus­bands.

The woman in our story is thrice vul­ner­a­ble - one for be­ing a woman, an­other for be­ing a widow and third for be­ing poor. Yet here she is a model of true giv­ing and dis­ci­ple­ship.

What can we learn from the poor widow?

God sees dif­fer­ently. Big­ger gifts get no­ticed ev­ery­where even in church. But Je­sus only saw the poor widow and her of­fer­ing of two coins. The coins may have not made any noise as they drop down into the trea­sury of the tem­ple but they surely made the loud­est noise in the trea­sury of heaven. And Je­sus no­ticed and heard it.

God does not know how to count. When it comes to count­ing and eval­u­at­ing which has greater value or not, God seems to go against hu­man stan­dards. To men, the two coins of the poor widow only added up to a penny but for Him, she had given more than ev­ery­one else that day. And the dif­fer­ence is not small but huge. The rich gave from their sur­plus but she gave from her ev­ery­thing - all she had to live on.

God ap­pre­ci­ates our gifts given in faith. Of­ten times we feel small and neg­li­gi­ble be­fore God - that we have noth­ing to of­fer him that he could use. In the gospel the woman gave her last two coins in faith the God could use it. We do not know what hap­pened to the widow af­ter this in­ci­dent. But I be­lieve God pro­vided her all that she needed. I am of­ten re­minded of this young per­son who told me that God does not al­ways give what we want but He al­ways gives what we need. “Each of you should give what you have de­cided in your heart to give, not re­luc­tantly or un­der com­pul­sion, for God loves a cheer­ful giver,” St. Paul writes to the Corinthi­ans. God is faith­ful to his peo­ple.

Je­sus in­vited the dis­ci­ples to imi­tate the poor widow who gave from her poverty. Je­sus in­vites us to be like her - give with­out fear but with faith.

Pope Bene­dict XVI once said in a homily that “No­body is so poor that they can not do­nate some­thing… to­day the widow show her faith by un­der­tak­ing an act of char­ity. Thus she at­tests to the in­dis­sol­u­ble unity be­tween faith and char­ity, as well as be­tween love of God and love of neigh­bor - as last Sun­day’s Gospel re­minds us.

He quoted an­other pope, Saint Leo the Great, “The scales of di­vine jus­tice do not weigh the amount of gifts, but the weight of hearts. The widow of the Gospel de­posited into the trea­sury two small coins and sur­passed all the gifts of the rich. No act of kind­ness is mean­ing­less be­fore God, no mercy is fruit­less.” He added that we must also turn to the ex­am­ple of the Vir­gin Mary “…who gives her­self com­pletely trust­ing in God, with this faith she said to the an­gel “Here I am” and wel­comed the Lord’s will.

Let us grow to be like her: brave, gen­er­ous and joy­ful.

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