Giving For God’s Sake

Peace and grace to you all!+++

This weekend we are reminded that all that we have comes from God and when we are asked to give for God’s sake, God will see to it that our faith offering is blessed!

The first reading and Gospel’s main characters are widows—that is significant.  Typically, women in the ancient near east were among the most vulnerable in society who depended greatly upon the men for protection, sustenance and wealth.  If a woman was a widow, then she had to go it alone and be the home maker and the bread winner for the household—even build the dwelling.  Life was a challenge indeed and having extremely limited resources didn’t help.  One gets a sense of the level of poverty that they had in the first reading when the widow tells Elijah how little they have and after it is consumed, they will die; presumably of hunger.  Again the level of poverty appears in the Gospel when we hear that the few cents given by the widow was a greater sacrificial gift than all the others.

On the one hand, we are reminded of social justice issues and the fact that 26% of American households have a single parent.  Of those, 23% are single moms. We need to be aware of how difficult it is for a single parent to raise their children and watch for ways to support them.  I remember how hard it was for my mother to raise 7 children after my parent’s divorce.  I was keenly aware and appreciative of those who helped my mom in special ways.  One thoughtful gentleman owned a car dealership and gave her a station wagon car.  When the car needed repairs, there was a service station where the owner gave mom a break on the price of repairs because he knew she had lots of kids and limited resources.  Other anonymous helpers contributed toward our tuition to remain in a Catholic school.  Periodically, friends of the family would stop by with a surprise gift of food or clothes or something useful.  It was humbling to have little and at times to need but it also opened our eyes to see people’s goodness and generosity.  It also helped us realize how important it is to give. My mother gave too when it was her turn and when she knew someone could use it.  She gave in a quiet respectful way because she knew what it was like to need.

Real poverty is when people who are able to give don’t or they give very little.  Real wealth is when people who have little, are rich enough in faith and generosity of heart to give something of what they have.  May God bless you and help you prosper in every way but most of all in love and grace! +++ Fr. Peter

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