Today’s Thoughts: At times if we are not paying attention, we can miss the power and presence of women that our scripture often offer us. In two of today’s readings we are present with simple yet powerful examples of women on the journey of faith.
In our first reading from the First Book of Kings we might be tempted to focus on the gift that Elijah leaves the widow and her son, a never-ending jar of floor and jug of oil. However, if we only focus on the end of the story, we miss its profound message. This poor widow from Zarephath is at the end of her jar of floor and jug of oil. We might even say that she and her son are at the end of their lives. Yet does she complain, does she protest, does she refuse Elijah’s request for food and drink? No instead she looks him straight in the eye and does not say no. She sees clearly the presence of God that confronts her at that moment and puts her faith and trust in that presence.
The poor widow in the Mark’s Gospel today also carries a simplicity of life with her as she goes to the temple to pray. All that she is and all that she has she carries with her as an offering to God. We might say she looks God right in the eye and does not say no. Instead she gives God her whole livelihood.
These two women in today scriptures remind us that simplicity of life always enables us to be more present, more focused, more aware of the presence of God in our life. Real poverty is certainly dehumanizing on so many levels, however like the women in our stories it can allow us to see clearly and to know of our dependence on God. Spiritual poverty, which can lead us to a deeper freedom in a world where “the one who has the most toys wins.” Spiritual poverty leads us to a place of trust. Poverty, that is spiritual, leads us to who and what we really need. It is the difference between asking, “Give me more!” And "Yes, Lord you will not leave me to face my perils alone."
The two poor widows today live out of the simplicity of their poverty, the clear vision of God’s presence and their trust in God’s mercy. Unlike the wise and clever scribes - who strive for a righteousness but don’t have compassion or care for those in need who – “Devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers." (Mark 12:40) They have no simplicity, no vision and no trust in the God they proclaim to believe in.
Perhaps as we journey through this Sunday, we might ask ourselves what clutters our hearts so much that we only give out of surplus not out of our livelihood, our whole self? What clouds our vision so that we do not trust in the presence of God in our lives?
Have a blessed Sunday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...