Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

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Humility to Listen and Respond

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” Matthew 7:21–23

This teaching from Jesus should have the effect of causing every Christian to regularly examine their lives. Think carefully about what Jesus said: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord…’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you…’” This shocking statement should lead us to continually and prayerfully ask ourselves the question, “Am I among the ‘many’ of whom Jesus is speaking?”

Many Christians will conclude that they are not among this group of “many.” But that’s the point. Jesus makes it clear that it is easy to be misled into thinking that you are following Him and doing great things for Him in His name when you are not. Thus, He says that many people will be surprised when they die and enter their particular judgment. They will be surprised to discover that it was not the will of God they were serving. And though we should allow this teaching of Jesus to get our attention, we must also be careful not to let it lead us to confusion or despair. Instead, it is a call to humility and diligence in the spiritual life.

At the heart of what Jesus is teaching us are the virtues found in the person who listens and responds. Jesus goes on to say that “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” The first key is to listen. Too often we run ahead of our Lord, allowing our passions and confused emotions to lead us into what we determine to be God’s will. But we make that determination without listening. This is pride. Pride has the effect of deafening the voice of God and replacing it with our own ideas of what is right and just.

Humility, on the other hand, helps us to always move forward with our ears open and attentive to the various ways that God speaks to us. And as we learn to listen, humility also helps us to continually redirect the path we are on, acting upon that which we hear spoken by our Lord. 

By analogy, anyone who drives a car knows that they must frequently adjust the direction of the car so that the car stays on the road. The adjustments are often very subtle. Drivers watch the road (which is analogous to listening) and make adjustments to the direction of the car (which is analogous to acting on God’s word) throughout the entire journey. So it is with the will of God; we must continually readjust the direction of our lives in subtle ways so that we remain firmly grounded on the road that leads to the fulfillment of God’s will.

Reflect, today, upon your own depth of humility. Are you able to regularly take your eyes off yourself and your own will and turn your attention to the voice of God? Are you able to humble yourself to the point of daily amending the choices you make, especially the most subtle choices? Pray for the ability to listen, hear and understand. And from there, pray for the ability to respond generously to everything God speaks. If you do, you will be among the other “many” whom God will reward with the riches of everlasting life.

My Lord and eternal Judge, You demand perfection from us out of Your desire for our good. You continually speak to us, calling us to change the road we are on. Please open my ears to hear You, and give me the humility and strength of will I need to respond to You every day and every time You speak. Jesus, I trust in You.

Interpreting God’s Laws

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” Mark 2:27–28

This line summarizes Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who had just criticized the disciples for picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. The Pharisees had rationalized, with their twisted and scrupulous logic, that all work was forbidden on the Sabbath. That included the picking and milling of grain. Thus, they concluded that since the disciples were picking wheat, rubbing the grain from the heads and eating that grain as they walked, they were sinning and violating the Sabbath law of rest.

The Second Vatican Council, in its document Gaudium et spes #26, explains that “The social order and its development must constantly yield to the good of the person, since the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons and not the other way around…” This is a reference to the above passage that “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” In other words, God’s divine Law, to keep holy the Sabbath, has the good of the person in mind. Rest, restoration, and recreation have as their goal the good of every person. Therefore, when the Pharisees decided to develop a detailed and scrupulous interpretation of God’s law, which, according to them, forbade the disciples from nourishing themselves on their long journey with heads of grain, they were distorting God’s law, because their interpretation did not have the good of the person as the goal.

One important lesson we can learn from this situation is that everything God has taught, both His positive precepts (Thou shall…) and His negative precepts (Thou shall not…) were given for our good and must always be understood and practiced in that light. God’s laws are never burdensome. They are never an end in themselves. They are never arbitrary laws that make our lives more difficult. God’s true laws, when understood and interpreted correctly, always lead to our good and have the holiness of each person as the goal.

Reflect, today, upon the fact that every precept God has set forth has as its goal your personal good. If you struggle with exaggerating and distorting God’s law, as the Pharisees did, then work to amend that. And if you foolishly ignore the true meaning of any of God’s laws, seeing them as burdens, then work to restore a true knowledge of the good that those laws produce in you. Follow the Law of God in every way, not deviating to the left or to the right, and you will find it leads to the greatest good for your soul.

Lord, You created the Sabbath law of rest—and every other precept—for my good. Through Your laws of love, I am given the perfect path toward holiness and fullness in life. May I always understand Your laws and never deviate from their true meaning. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Reward of Faith

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.” Luke 7:6–7

This passage comes from the story of the Roman centurion whose servant was ill and at the point of death. The centurion was not a Jew but a Gentile. Nonetheless, he had always been good to the Jews, even building their synagogue for them.

The humility of this Gentile is impressive and is seen in four ways. First, it took humility for a Roman to ask a Jew to heal his servant. Second, the centurion initially sent elders of the Jews on his behalf to ask Jesus to heal his servant. This shows the respect the elders had for this man, which could only come through his humble and respectful dealings with them. Third, as Jesus was approaching the centurion’s home, the centurion did not find himself worthy to go to Jesus himself but sent some friends as his messengers. Fourth, the message sent through the friends was that the centurion did not see himself as worthy of having Jesus enter his home, so he requested Jesus heal from a distance. The real reason for this request was that he knew the Jewish custom that a Jew should not enter the home of a Gentile, lest he become unclean. So the centurion showed humble respect for Jewish custom.

Even Jesus was amazed. After witnessing this fourfold act of humility, Jesus said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And with that, Jesus healed the servant from a distance, not continuing to the home.

At first, one may think that Jesus would have continued to the home of this Gentile to show His appreciation for his humble faith. But Jesus’ mission was not one in which He went around patting people on the back so as to build up their pride or social prestige. Instead, our Lord’s mission was singularly focused on faith. He wanted to elicit faith from all people, even Gentiles. And because this centurion manifested an amazing faith and humility, Jesus’ mission with him was complete. Not only was the servant healed, but the centurion grew in holiness through his manifestation of his sincere faith and humility.

Sometimes, as Christians, we expect honor and recognition for what we do. And though it is good to see the goodness of God alive in others, to acknowledge it and praise it, humility demands that we never seek out honor and recognition for ourselves. A humble person will always seek only the gift of faith as their reward, just as the centurion did.

Reflect, today, upon the desire in the Heart of Jesus that He give you the gift of a deepening and profound faith. Consider all that you do for God and for the upbuilding of His Church. Do you seek recognition and praise for all you do? Or do you do what you do because you desire to grow in faith and love of God alone? Seek the greatest gift, which is a faith that results in the love of God, and allow that gift to be your only reward.

Lord, I thank You for the faith that You placed in the heart of this Roman centurion. Please teach me by his example so that I may also manifest a strong faith and humility always. As I do, I pray that the gift of this faith grows into a deeper love of You and others and becomes my most treasured reward. Jesus, I trust in You.

Exercising Authority

Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.” Mark 12:1–3

This was the first of “many” servants the owner of the vineyard sent to the tenants to obtain some of the produce of the vineyard. Some of the servants were mistreated, some beaten and others were killed. In the end, the owner sent his son. The tenants killed him, thinking that they would inherit the vineyard if the son were dead.

The context of this parable is important. Jesus had just entered Jerusalem for the beginning of the first Holy Week, which would ultimately end with His death and resurrection. The day before, Jesus had cleansed the Temple of the money changers. The chief priests, scribes and elders were outraged and began to plot His death. Jesus especially addressed this parable to them.

To understand this parable, you need to understand who represents whom. The religious leaders of Israel were the tenants, the vineyard was the Jewish nation, God the Father was the man who planted the vineyard, the many servants sent to gather the produce were the prophets of old, and Jesus was the Beloved Son Who was killed. The parable concludes by saying that the owner of the vineyard (God the Father) will put the tenants to death and give the vineyard to others. In other words, the scribes, Pharisees, chief priests and elders would soon have their religious authority taken away from them, and it would be given to the Apostles and their successors. This parable, therefore, presents us with a summary of the way the Church was formed. 

It’s helpful to note that the religious leaders of the time knew that Jesus addressed this parable to them, but they failed to heed the lesson. Ideally, if they were open to the gift of faith, they would have realized that they were attempting to steal the “vineyard” from God. They were attempting to control and manipulate the Kingdom of Israel, to make it into their own image, and to disregard the will of God Who established it.

This parable is especially important for anyone who exercises some form of holy authority. Parents exercise authority within the home. Bishops and priests exercise authority within the Church. And we all exercise a certain spiritual authority when we seek to fulfill our unique mission in life. The lesson from this parable is simple: don’t abuse your authority. Don’t exercise authority according to your own will; exercise it with humility only in accord with God’s will. Every leader, always and everywhere, must lead according to the mind and will of God. If they fail, they will suffer the consequences.

Reflect, today, upon any way that God has entrusted you with a spiritual duty to fulfill His mission in this world. When a duty of leadership is entrusted to a person, the leader is also entrusted with the spiritual authority to fulfill that duty in accord with the mind and will of God. This requires constant humility so that it is only God’s will that is fulfilled. Seek to exercise all authority in accord with the mind and will of God, and the vineyard entrusted to your care will bear an abundance of good fruit.

Loving Father, You have chosen to send me, as a tenant of Your Kingdom, to bear good fruit for eternal life. Please help me to always exercise the authority and duty entrusted to me with humility so that I will seek to fulfill Your will and Your will alone. Jesus, I trust in You.

Combating the Deceptions of the World

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

“Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” Mark 12:14–15

These Pharisees and Herodians were sent to trap Jesus in His speech. These men were very politically minded and loved to pick sides and find fault with others. They were self-righteous and cared little about the salvation of souls. So they came to Jesus with what appeared to be an innocent question. They appear to presume that Jesus would voice opposition to paying the census tax to Caesar, and, if He did, they were ready to report Him to the civil authorities. They didn’t care about the truth; they only cared about trapping our divine Lord. When they brought the Roman coin to Jesus with the image of Caesar on it, Jesus spoke that profoundly wise line, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Clearly, if these hypocritical religious leaders would have come to Jesus with humility and sincerity, Jesus would have responded to them much differently. But because they came only to trap, twist and destroy our Lord, Jesus puts them in their place with an act of divine wisdom. He doesn’t show support for paying the census tax, nor does He speak against it. Therefore, this Gospel passage ends with the line: “They were utterly amazed at him.” “Amazement” is the right response. Therefore, in a sense, we can learn from these hypocritical religious leaders. Whenever we come face-to-face with the profound wisdom of God, we should experience awe and holy amazement.

Of course, the amazement they experienced was on account of Jesus thwarting their evil trap. But even though that is the case, we can learn from this that the wisdom of God can never be outdone. God’s wisdom silences the foolishness of the age and reveals the hidden malice behind that evil.

Have you ever been confronted by the trickery of the secular “know-it-alls” of our age. Have you ever been challenged by another, had your faith directly attacked, or your moral convictions called into question? Most likely, if you have chosen to live your faith openly and with confidence, you may have felt the attack of another. For those who lack a deep faith and a clear gift of divine wisdom, such trickery can cause confusion and anxiety. You may find you do not know how to respond and feel trapped by the erroneous “wisdom” of the age. In that case, what do you do? The only answer to the false doctrines and deceptions we will all encounter within the growingly secular and atheist world is the answer that comes from divine wisdom. By ourselves, none of us is wise enough to combat these errors. Therefore, our only recourse is to continually turn to the wisdom of God.

We turn to the wisdom of God through prayer and sacred study. Our prayer opens our minds to the clear voice of God Who speaks pure truth. And sacred study, especially of the Scripture, the teachings of the Church and the lives of the saints, will help to clarify God’s voice and dispel the confusion the world tries to throw at us. In the end, if we are not immersing our minds in the true wisdom of God, we will be unprepared for that which we encounter within the world.

Reflect, today, upon your need to be filled with divine wisdom so as to navigate the trickery and foolishness of the world. Acknowledge that you are not wise enough on your own to cut through the confusion of life. Pray for the gift of wisdom and allow our Lord to bestow it upon you.

Lord of all Truth, You are wise beyond all worldly wisdom, and You thwart the trickery of the evil one. Open my mind, dear Lord, to Your holy Truth so that I may be able to navigate through the challenges of life. Bestow Your wisdom upon me, dear Lord, so that I may follow You wherever You lead. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Wisdom of God

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers…” Mark 12:18–20

And these Sadducees then go on to present to Jesus a long and unlikely hypothetical scenario in which this woman eventually married all seven brothers after each one died. And at the conclusion of their hypothetical situation, the Sadducees ask Jesus, “At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?” Of course, Jesus offers them the correct answer and then also states something interesting. He tells the Sadducees that they “are greatly misled.” Just prior to this conversation with the Sadducees, the Pharisees had presented their own question to Jesus in an attempt to trap Him. The difference seems to be that the Sadducees had more sincerity in their pursuit of the truth whereas the Pharisees were more obsessed with their own authority and power.

The Sadducees were considered the more traditional of the religious leaders, in that they accepted only the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, as authentically revealed. They also did not accept the afterlife or the resurrection of the dead because they believed that the Torah did not explicitly teach those things. The Pharisees not only accepted the Torah but also the rest of what is contained in the Old Testament. The Pharisees also accepted what was referred to as the “tradition of the elders,” which meant that they paid much attention to the scrupulous multiplication of laws and regulations that other Pharisees devised, and they sought to impose those man-made laws upon the people.

In this Gospel passage, the problem with the Sadducees seems to be scrupulosity and rigidity in their approach to the faith. They clearly relied upon human reason, and they applied their human reason to the Torah. And though human reason and logical deduction are helpful and necessary in life, they attempted to solve every matter of faith by their own effort by narrowly and rigidly interpreting the Torah. They did not allow themselves to be open to the deeper wisdom of God that floods one’s human reason when one is attentive to divine inspiration and revelation. Instead, they were black and white in all of their deductions and practices. This rigidity left them “greatly misled.”

In our own lives, we can also become greatly misled when we use the gift of our human reason in a rigid and narrow way. We must never overly simplify the faith, and we must never think that we will easily be able to arrive at all the answers by our own effort. Our constant goal must be to allow our minds to become fully immersed in the deepest wisdom of God and all that He has revealed. The teachings of the Church will guide us, keeping us on the straight path, but it will be the voice of God, speaking to our minds in a real and personal way, that will help us to understand the depth and breadth of God’s Will, His Truth, and Wisdom.

Reflect, today, upon any tendency you have to be like these Sadducees. Are you rigid? Or narrow minded? Do you allow yourself to be misled into thinking you have all the answers? If so, seek humility. Humble yourself before the awesome mysteries of Heaven. Use your mind to probe the truths that God has revealed and be ready to be drawn deeper and deeper into the life of God Himself.

My Lord of infinite wisdom, You are Truth Itself, and You continually reveal Yourself to us. Give me the humility I need to always be open to all divine Truth in my life so that I will come to know You and Your holy will as You desire. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Gift of Understanding

Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:34

Finally, we have the witness of one of the religious leaders, a scribe, who got it right. The passage above is the conclusion of the interaction with this scribe who asks Jesus which of all the commandments is the first and greatest. Jesus gives the twofold answer that we are to love God above all, with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. The scribe then responds to Jesus’ answer by saying, “Well said, teacher. You are right…” And then Jesus compliments this scribe with the quoted passage above.

Recall that almost all of the Pharisees were continually rebuked by Jesus because of their self-righteous arrogance. The Sadducees were also chastised but often to a lesser degree. And now we have a scribe who outshines them all. The scribes were primarily functionaries who copied or created various liturgical and legal documents. Some of the Pharisees were also scribes. And most of the time, when Jesus condemned the Pharisees, He also condemned the scribes. But this scribe is different. This scribe appears to not only be interested in Jesus’ answer but also manifests “understanding” of what Jesus said to him. Don’t underestimate the importance of this gift of understanding.

In order to truly understand that which our Lord speaks to us, we must be open. And openness requires humility. Humility is a virtue that is contrary to a “know-it-all” attitude. It’s a disposition of mind and heart that listens to God speak, hears what He says, comprehends all truth by the gift of grace, and prayerfully submits to that truth. Humility enables us to look beyond ourselves for the answers to the most difficult questions in life. It enables us to turn to the one and only source of truth, Jesus Christ Himself. And the fruit of this humble openness is the gift of understanding. It’s an understanding of the mysteries of life which is beyond our natural intellectual capacity. The grace of God is able to teach and form the humble soul and fill it with clarity of vision and an acceptance of the deepest truths.

Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ words to this scribe. “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Does Jesus also speak these words to you? Have you humbly sought out the answers to the many questions of life by turning to our Lord? More specifically, are you able to look at your life and rejoice in the fact that God has also given you His gift of understanding? If not, then look within and consider which questions you most need to bring to Jesus. Place them before Him and then listen, be open and be ready to respond when He speaks. Hearing and responding to our Lord will result in our Lord saying these same words to you.

My Lord of all Truth, You look upon the humble souls with graciousness and mercy, and You reveal to them the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Please give me the gift of humility, dear Lord, so that I may always turn to You with every question in life. Fill me with the gift of understanding so that I may know how to love and serve You more faithfully each and every day. Jesus, I trust in You.

A True Image of Christ

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, “How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’” Mark 12:35–36

At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews understood that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Furthermore, many thought that the Messiah would simply be a nationalistic leader who would lead the Jewish nation out of the oppression of the Romans. Thus, they reduced the Messiah to a descendent of David who would set them free in a more political way.

In the passage above, Jesus gives clarity to this common understanding of the Messiah as the “son of David.” The Messiah would not only descend in human form from David’s ancestral line, He was also David’s “Lord.” Jesus shows this by pointing to Psalm 110 in which David refers to the Messiah as his Lord. And though this subtle distinction may not at first seem to be that important to us today, Jesus clearly makes an intentional effort to teach this.

One key lesson we should take from this passage is that we must work diligently to have a correct image of Jesus. Though today we may not see our Lord as a nationalistic leader who came to set us free from political oppression, we can often form other erroneous images of Him. For the Jews at that time, the idea that the Messiah was also the “Lord” of King David was new. This points to the divinity of the Messiah and His eternal nature. Jesus gives this subtle clarification and “The great crowd heard this with delight.” We also must work to delight in a clear and correct understanding of Who Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of Man truly is. So Who is He?

To answer this question, first consider how you see Jesus in your life. Jesus is your friend, a wise teacher, an inspiring personality, a kind soul, a merciful leader and a model for us all. But He is also so much more. To pick only one image of Who Jesus is and to then give that one image excessive focus in our lives is an error similar to the error that many of the Jews had at the time Jesus taught them.

The “so much more” is the part we must focus on as we consider the identity of our Lord. We must see Him as God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. As God, He is to be worshiped and adored. And though He was God from all eternity, He also took on human flesh, uniting humanity with divinity. And as a human, He permitted Himself to die so that He could rise in His human nature. This way, if we unite ourselves to Him through a total surrender of our lives, then we will also die in our sin but then rise with Him to new life. In so doing, we are given the gift of eternal salvation and are enabled to share in the eternal life of the Most Holy Trinity. Though much more could and should be said about the identity of our Lord, this slight glimpse into His life should help us to avoid the trap of limiting Who He is in our minds and hearts.

Reflect, today, upon the image you have of Jesus. Look for ways that you may unintentionally limit His greatness and glory in your mind and heart. Try to expand that image of our Lord that you have and be open to all that He desires to reveal to You about Himself. The more you do so, the more you, too, will be filled with “delight” as the Person of our Lord is more clearly revealed to you.

My infinite and glorious Lord, You are so far beyond our understanding and comprehension, yet You invite us to come to You so that we may know You more fully. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to shed the erroneous and limited images of You that I have, so as to come to know You as You are. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Freedom to Give All

Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Mark 12:41–42

As soon as Jesus saw this widow contribute her “few cents” worth of coins, Jesus was moved with love. He immediately used this as an opportunity to teach a lesson to His disciples. He called them over and explained that this poor widow had contributed more than anyone because “she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Our Lord judges generosity far differently than the world. What does it mean to be generous? Generosity certainly applies to how you use your money. But it also applies to your time, energy, commitment, and every other aspect of your life. To be generous, according to Jesus, is to give all you have, your “whole livelihood.”

You accomplish this goal when you make God and His holy will the central and most important part of your life. You can hold nothing back from Him! Does this mean that if you want to strive for perfection, then you must give away all you own? Perhaps the best answer is both “Yes” and “No.” The answer is “Yes” in the sense that we must become completely detached, on an interior and spiritual level, from everything that is not part of God’s perfect will. The answer is “No” in the sense that, for most people, it is part of His holy will that you own a house, a car, other possessions, and do enjoy other material comforts with your family and friends. The key is the interior detachment and the central focus upon the glory of God and the total service of His holy will. Love of God and neighbor, and freedom from selfishness, will be the guiding factors in these decisions.

With that said, there are certainly some who live in excess and indulgence in our world and, as a result, are deeply attached to their extravagant lifestyle. And there are some who are physically poorer who are just as attached, interiorly, to that which they do not have. For example, what if this poor widow, instead of giving her last few cents, sat in the Temple area watching as the wealthy put in large sums of money and allowed herself to grow in jealousy and greed. This interior attitude would have been in stark contradiction to the generous and trusting spirit she acquired through her total generosity. True generosity is a fundamental disposition of our lives. It means that we have chosen to imitate our Lord through a total self-giving of ourselves to His holy will. And that does include seeing all that we possess as belonging to Christ for the service of His holy will.

Reflect, today, upon whether material possessions and wealth possess you more than you possess them. Are you controlled by desires for more and struggle with disordered attachments to the things you do have? Are you able to make love of God and love of neighbor the central focus of your life and use all that you have, in accord with God’s will, for those purposes? Reflect upon the generosity in the heart of this humble and poor widow and allow our Lord to teach you how to be generous through her holy witness.

My generous Lord, You bestow upon us all good things. You enrich our lives with Your love and mercy which are the true treasures we must seek. Fill my heart with the same generosity exemplified by this poor widow so that I, too, will imitate the total self-giving that she lived in imitation of You. Jesus, I trust in You.

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